Claire and Ashley sponsor two of the children at Jame’s place, and since they are here we wanted them to greet one another as soon as possible so we made a trip to the school where they attend. Claire has been with us from the beginning and knows all the bumps that we’ve travelled in our road. It was an emotional meeting for her and so sweet for the kids. The head master went into the classroom and asked the two children to stand up, they introduced one another, hugged, and took photos.
The children are very shy, and though they are bursting with joy on the inside, they don’t have the ability to show it on the outside. But we know for sure that they felt like celebrities yesterday and won’t ever forget the day their sponsor visited school.
While I was there at the school I had a meeting with the head master. As usual when I arrive here in Uganda, things have happened that require me to untangle them. As the head master himself said, “I needed to hear it from the horse’s mouth.” So I laughed and thought, “I am the horse’s mouth.” Can’t say that’s been true too many times in my life.
In February the people of James’ church requested I find sponsors for their children to attend school. I said I can put them on the list, which is really long. Phiona collected the information and there it sat in my office. I’m still in need of sponsors for the children in our home, and they come before all the other requests made to me, and believe me I am approached very often here from those who need help for their children to attend school.
Well, without speaking to Phiona or myself, James took two children up to the school and enrolled them. Next thing we know Kirabo Seeds has a bill. Phiona explained to the head master exactly what the horses’ mouth explained, and yet the children remained in school. He was hopeful that a sponsor would appear. What people here fail to understand is that I can’t go to a store and bring home sponsors. People aren’t waving at me, “pick me!” I have to wait patiently for God to move in hearts, for people to choose to make commitments and more importantly trust our organization to do what we say we will do. Finally I’m not a hard sell kind of girl, I’m not even going to give the soft sell. I’m just doing what I do, and I wait for those who are interested to come and join our team. Many times I lose sponsors and so the children who had a sponsor go to the top of the list to get replacements. Meanwhile, Daddy Craig covers the bill.
So I sat across from the head master yesterday and I explained, “James acted without my knowledge or permission. I do not have sponsors for these children and they are so far down on the list that I don’t expect to find one this year. I cannot be responsible to pay that bill.”
I have to make sure I am not taken advantage of like this. Really it was disrespectful to assume and not ask permission before enrolling the children. This situation highlights many of the problems I encounter as I strive to help the neediest of children here in Uganda. When we lived in the UK I was so impressed how people would que up politely, quietly and orderly. Then when we visited France I was appalled to see people crowd the service window, cut in line and push right in front of me. I think if we multiply the French way by ten this is what I experience here.
Don’t think for one moment that I get trampled. That’s not easy to do to me. It is the very neediest children who get trampled, and they need an underdog moment where they find themselves at the front of the line. Kirabo Seeds has chosen to represent the absolute neediest children here in Uganda. And for the instances when we cannot determine there is this wonderful God moment where we feel the divine touch and the holy spirit moves and we feel it without having the words. Phiona explained this to us when we were searching for our original fourteen children. She reported, “oh, it was like a divine appointment when we met these children. And other situations we knew were just not right. God was so present in the selection.”
Anyway, the headmaster is going to have to make a difficult decision and deliver the news to James. Then when I arrive I’ll have to explain my position to the church all over again.
After visiting the school we went to our children’s home to play with the little kids who come home from school early. We did a craft, and sorted six tubs of clothes I brought all the way from America. When the children received their pile of clothing their smiles wrapped around their heads. In this culture to give thanks children kneel before you, so they all kneeled and I felt bashful. I can’t get used to that custom. I believe we should only kneel before Jesus. But I do appreciate the depth of their gratitude.
Then the best part of the day happened just before we drove home for the night. The oven/stove Kirabo Seeds bought for Julie arrived at the house! It blew her away. She danced, she squealed, she jumped up and down, she hugged me over and over, and she just couldn’t stop marveling over how sturdy it was, and how much her life is about to improve. She really loves to cook and she’s had the best training. To see her receive this gift that came from God really, not from me, gave me so much joy. And all the money to purchase it was donated specifically to help with the needs at our childrnen’s home. I am a big believer in quality, so I bought the best knowing it will last as long as Julie is able to cook. Transportation, a water pump, and a good cooker were the biggest needs this trip. All of them have been met without our personal finances. Glory, praise and thanks to a mighty God who provides in his own time.
No more charcoal stoves. No more match boxes. This cooker has an automatic ignition. I think she liked that the most.
The next important item on my agenda is finding a night guard to protect them all so she can sleep well. I interviewed Kia who was a school mate for Phiona and she’s going to come three times a week and work with the children with guided activities, homework, bible lessons, crafts, games and such. Lydia especially needs a lot of help because she doesn’t even know how to write her name.
I also interviewed Robert to discuss the job responsibilities of being a full time driver for us. He can do more than drive! He has a degree in social science. He views this as a ministry opportunity, and that’s exactly the kind of person Kirabo Seeds needs around the children full time. He will be a great role model for the boys and show the girls that men can be protective and loving. We need to find him an apartment close by so if there are emergencies during the night he can come to the rescue. He’s also capable of being in charge when a child is sick. He won’t have to bring Julie and leave the children alone. He can step in as dad in the appointment. I really thank God for the heart on this young man.
We are making unbelievable progress. I am hopeful that by the time I hop on the plane and return exhausted to America, we will have established a great program and structure for our children’s home. I hope no one person is over burdened but that there is balance in all ways for all who serve these beautiful children.
Have I mentioned they’ve all stolen my heart completely? I am hopelessly in love with each of them. It’s not hard to let that happen. When I go to sleep I hit the replay button where they approach me with a big smile and say, ‘hello mummy’. And then I get the best hugs. The fullness of God’s love is an amazing experience. These children have shown me what the abundant life truly is.