I remember the first time I went craft shopping in Uganda. It was a visual feast of culture. I tried to buy something from every one to make them happy, and it was my pleasure to do so. That way I was also free to photograph the scene without causing problems. It is considered rude to photograph people here without purchasing their products. I learned by asking, “may I photograph you?” when they consistently answered, “support me first.” Shrug. Ok.
It is an entirely different experience shopping in these markets now. Some of them know me, and at least they ask for Jack and remember I have the American Ugandan girl who refuses to use good manners with people in public. It used to be I would get swarmed to purchase in bulk with them all. But now we have good relationships with the women we buy from regularly so we put our orders in advance. By now we have our favorites. I will say though I’m a big softie when someone calls me by name and inquires about our children in our home.
I love to bring children from home with us. Watching them take in the scene is fascinating for me. This is their culture. Denis and Lydia accompanied us this trip and they both had their eyes on bracelets the children before them had chosen. Denis is quiet as a bunny but when he saw the bracelet that says Uganda on it he said, “mom?” and held it in his hand. Yes! Of course! Lydia chose one similar, and Kira required the pink one, though by now I’m not sure where it is. Shopping in the markets with Kira is a full time job, so I went early and the rest of the group joined us when I had finished.
The children were eagerly awaiting our arrival when we finished shopping. We could see through the iron gate they were hustling and popping with high energy. I visited them early in the morning before shopping because I just had to have some hugs to fuel my shopping adventure. I enjoyed their greetings to the Kings and the rest of my family. They love Jack! It is probably in my top five lifetime experiences to feel the welcome home from the Kirabo Seeds children. We dined for lunch together. Jack’s mouth has been watering since we began to cross the Atlantic in anticipation of Auntie Julie’s cooking. We have a new little kitten in our home. She was adamant about having something off my plate so I threw her Kira’s chicken bone. She ate it like a lion, growling if anyone came near her prize. Darling.
Phiona and Robert went shopping for the food we will share today with the jjajjas in the community. They delivered it to one of their houses so they can begin cooking it early in the morning. We are having a community reunion and picnic with the children today. Our kids have been preparing for a week to share with their community what they are given every day: the word of God.
Every night before bathtime the children sit in a circle for devotions lead by one of the adults. I provide devotion books for them to follow, hand me downs from when our boys were young and they shared devotions at breakfast. The children have to bring their bibles and notebooks to write down what they learn. They are attentive and interactive, eager to answer and share their thoughts. This is the time when we learn about struggles on their hearts as they share with the family memories from the past and relate it to how God loves them and rescued them. Little Marvin fell asleep in Jim King’s arms, and Kira was soon to drift away in mine. A cool breeze passed through now and then and for us southerners tired of summer, we rejoiced.
We discussed how we know God loves us and the children shared with hands raised in turn how they know for sure that God loves them. When we receive God’s love it fills us up and needs to spill somewhere for others to experience. That’s what we will do today. The children will take the love they have received from God and share it with the children from their village by leading them in devotions, acting out skits, teaching songs, and sharing story books.
For me to see these children become butterflies in such a short time and ready to give back, that which was given so generously to them, is pure joy. What’s more satisfying is they are so eager to test their wings and experience leadership. This is a full circle moment for me. Our goals at Kirabo Seeds have been to provide deeply to each child so we can raise leaders in their community. In just over one year in our home they are eager to step into the elementary form of this role. I am so pleased. Our staff, Phiona, Robert, Kiah, Julie, and Kenny have done an outstanding job teaching these children, giving them discipline, love, and God’s word as a guide for living in relationship with others. I am so proud of the way they ministered to these children. And I am so thankful for all the people who have so faithfully shared resources with us so we can provide for this family.
The jjajjas have gathered all their neighbors and friends to join us today as we will all share from our hearts how God has touched our lives. We will share a meal together and celebrate God’s love. They will get to meet my husband for the first time and enjoy his humble yet firm way of handling God’s word. I can’t wait to share the photos here tomorrow.