While I was bicycling this week my mind went wandering and I was thinking of original gifts I could bring to friends in Uganda. I thought, oh, those camping shower bags that sit in the sun all day to warm up and then there is a hot shower to have at the end of the day, eureka! I was quite sure for a day or so that this was a brilliant idea. I’m so relieved I didn’t order ten of them because this morning I was remembering some cultural differences. Most of the people I know there who bathe in the outdoor basin love the refreshing feeling of cold water. They wrinkle their noses at me when I panic at the thought of the electricity going out and my fear of losing my hot shower. They can’t even understand why I would consider skipping my bath because I want to avoid cold water. So why in the world would I impose on them my gift of hot water when they don’t even like hot showers? Some don’t even like to sit on a toilet. They PREFER the squatty potty. Who am I to say they are wrong? I even learned you can use a squatty potty and still have dignity.
Doing this work in Uganda can sometimes be difficult because of communication and cultural differences. I have to be so careful that I don’t arrive at a conversation and begin with my set of assumptions that we want life to go the same way. I need to assume we are never on the same page. I also have the responsibility of discovering and understanding their point of view, preferences, and prohibitions before I propose an idea. I work hard to do this because I respect them. I don’t look down and think my way is so much better than theirs. I find their way of thinking and living fascinating, I want to understand, and I want to work in their framework to help them help themselves. I never ever want to throw money around and make problems go away.
Look at Haiti. How many billions were sent there? Has anything improved for all that money? No. Why? Because most of the donors wrote a check but didn’t get dirty. By dirty I mean make relationship and a long term commitment. It is degrading to offer a hand out, people need a help up. That takes relationship, coaching, commitment, and restraint. It is easier to write a check, that’s the truth. (ok, I know there are some who are invested…the money should go to them. They are making change.)
But when I heard God tug my heart and say, help my children, I said, “here am I. Send me.” I didn’t put any qualifiers on my willingness to go. And he had a much bigger plan than I could ever have imagined. It’s good I didn’t know his plan, I would have been scared away.
What’s wonderful is the people who come into my life who have the same tug in their heart and I can connect them with relationship through sponsoring a child. It is the greatest blessing of my day to take a child who cries out like Psalm 40:17 “Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; o my God do not delay.” And God answers that child’s cry with people like us. But what’s most interesting is I have been that child who cries out the same prayer to God. We all have. We are no different from that child, this is what I know, this is the premise from where I begin the work I do for Kirabo Seeds.
I love this work.
Some days I sigh over the tall pile of kids who still need sponsors and I want to match them immediately. But then I remember God isn’t slow in his work. I am impatient. The right person at the right time will come along for each and every orphan in our program. Just this morning I awoke to a friend who has a ten year old just like our Jack, and this boy wants to do a fundraiser to help one of our orphans to go to school. It started my day with a smile. This boy’s heart to help and his trust in God that it can be done inspires me. I think that’s what it means to have faith like a child.