Our American children have finished school for the summer, but our children in Uganda are beginning three long months of school with six days a week of class. In my home, here, I’m hoping for a loose and flexible schedule for a little while. The kind of busy we had this year makes me feel like going splat on the floor. The summer ahead offers us a good opportunity to recuperate and prepare for the changes in front of us. I’m hoping I am ready to begin writing the story of Kirabo Seeds, that is, as soon as I scrape my personal splat off the hard surfaces.
I’ve started the story a few times. I go about fifty pages into it, and I realize I haven’t achieved emotional neutrality, so I put it aside. The struggles we endured were still causing a few open wounds to fester. After my last trip to Uganda though I was encouraged, and I feel the spirit in me nudge and poke a little as if the time is near. The anger has settled and blown away. What a relief to my soul. My objective eye has returned and I’m able to see all sides of the story with more clarity and less judgment. I believe it’s impossible to tell a good story from an angry and hurt place. A story is only good if there’s a full measure of humor mixed through the recipe of hard truth. I’m actually really excited! Miss Kira is coming to an age where I can go back to my own mind and think like an artist rather use my mental capacities to negotiate a full blown toddler tantrum. She’s so much more agreeable at three and a half than she was just a few months ago. Our eyes lock when a battle might erupt, and she concedes…usually. We might have made it through the toddler stage for the fifth time.
Last weekend we set up a shop at the Boerne Market Days to sell our Ugandan crafts. That’s an honest labor of love in this Texas heat. This was my third public sales event, and I’m finding I am learning how to stream line. I hope next time the packing, setting up, and removal of all our things will be a smooth routine. I’m doubtful though I’ll have the endurance to do July and August in the Texas heat. I’ll just promote our online store with more enthusiasm and work from my air-conditioned office.
I have more respect for the African women who bundle their shop up onto their heads, walk with a child for hours, and spend the day working in the equator heat. Their day of work is motivated to earn the funds to feed their family an evening meal. First though, they walk home, shop on the way, and cook on a charcoal sigiri. It’s all worth it when they can lay their heads for sleep with a full stomach before they cycle the routine again. Who am I to complain? Taking life’s perspective from the hard working African women always sobers me.
It gives me extreme satisfaction to purchase our goods for sale from women who labor this way. When I buy all their stock with the promise to buy more I understand their children can now go to school, and they won’t go to bed with hungry stomachs. Then there’s the added blessing that the goods they made with their own hands are sold to help support the orphaned children of their own culture. That is something they wholeheartedly appreciate. Our lives become connected for the good of children.
The atmosphere of the Texas hill country market is lively and full of opportunity for watching people, one of my favorite pastimes. Texas has some real characters, the accent alone is entertaining to the midwestern ear. Ladies with short skirts and cowboy boots pass, men and little boys with wrangler jeans, large silver belt buckles and white cowboy hats nod at me and say, “ma’am”. There are dogs everywhere, and the seasoned vendors provide water bowls for the canine customers. Elvis appeared and sang, causing many women with deep creases in their smiles to break out into song and dance. A Swede so tall he ducked to enter my booth informed me that at a time most men retire he moved to America to be an artist. He’s learning spanish and salsa dancing so he can move to South America next. He too was wearing a cowboy hat. He was happy he sold enough art to buy the necessary salsa dancing shoes. He also bought Jack’s bread and our coffee. The fellow vendors are friendly and quick to become our best customers, encouragers, and supporters. Not all shoppers are interested in our story or our cause, but for the rare few that engage with what we are doing for the orphaned children at Kirabo Seeds, a heart connection is made. I personally believe God uses the relationships in my life to further this work. It’s critical that I continue to reach out and make more relationships and connect people to this special cause. I consider it my privilege.
Most people love to see my whole family arrive and help with the work. When Kira makes an appearance people are drawn to her exotic beauty. Rather than a pretty Afrian dress, she ought to wear a t-shirt that says, “careful I bite”. She’s not keen on strangers touching her. I continue to coach her how to smile and say “hi” to people who greet her, but she prefers to hiss. I’m not kidding. It’s mortifying. I think she’s too intimate with fairy tales weighed down with public danger. Some day she’ll realize Snow White had to eat the poison apple to eventually meet her prince. In the same way Kirabo Seeds had to suffer corruption and fraud to open our own children’s home where the children actually get the help they need.
Our children in Uganda have begun their second term of school for the year. They returned to school wearing new school shoes, and bright red backpacks with their names embroidered on them. They walked so tall and happy to show they are loved greatly. I think back to a time of sitting in a circle with them after devotions. Phiona asked them, what do you appreciate about your life here in the Kirabo Seeds home? Some of them said, “I never thought I would get to return to school.”… “I didn’t think I would have shoes to wear.” … “I don’t worry any more about finding food to eat.”… “I am safe.”… “I know God loves me.” All because I am able to sell $10 bracelets online, and thanks to the generosity of sponsors.
Yes. That’s why it takes all of us, as far as the world wide web can reach to continue to support and provide for these children, who thought they had been lost and forgotten, but God came after them and said, “no, I am always with you.” He just used us to send the message. So, I’ll continue to pray that if you want to help these children you’ll remember to shop for gifts in our store and share the blessing with your friends. If enough people pass the word about pretty paper bead bracelets that only cost 10$ it could make a significant impact for the children in Uganda. I hope you will visit our store! http://www.kiraboseeds.storenvy.com