When Boniface died last year from complications of HIV and chicken pox I became a mother who has lost a child. I don’t wish that heart suffering on any parent alive. Helpless but not hopeless I asked God, “please God allow us to help children without hope to get treatment to save their lives.” In response to losing one child we desire to save many.
Without actively searching for this opportunity to help Irene brought the case of Jimmy to my attention simply for me to pray for him. She counsels HIV victims at the Wentz medical clinic in Kampala. This clinic is run by the same organization that runs Kira’s baby home. Jimmy was born without an anus and the sloppy slit in his abdomen was constantly infected and he was suffering great sickness. I didn’t hesitate, I knew this was God’s answer to my prayer! I considered for a moment sending a personal check but I felt God put his hand over mine and I understood I was to step aside and allow him to work through the hearts of others.
After I blogged about this sweet mama and her boy three times the amount we needed to care for his treatment was donated. That’s when I asked Irene to keep a look out for another case where we could help save the life of a child.
So we were able to help Justin get head surgery. He was a street boy, a run away, and he was struck by a motorcycle and his skull was pierced. Wentz goes out to the community to do medical mission work and they found this boy there without any care. A local boys’s home allowed him to stay with them and we were able to take care of all his medical needs. Now he is fully recovered and well!
On Friday I visited Wentz medical center with Irene. She introduced me to the administrator there and we arranged to make a partnership. When they find cases where a life saving procedure is needed and there’s no hope of any help they will present the case to Kirabo Seeds and we will see if God will move and provide the necessary care for a child. I believe He will.
I’m thrilled to be able to expand our ministry in this way, just one child’s need at a time. We will be so blessed to know at the end of each day we helped save a life.
On Saturday afternoon we picked up Irene and drove out into the slum of Namawongo to visit Jimmy and his mama. She was so eager to meet us. I wanted to hear her story and watch her face light up as she told it. I wanted to assure her she had God to thank and not this mzungu.
Third world conditions don’t bother me at all. I’m quite accustomed to the sights and smells. It’s a bit uncomfortable being the only white person to walk through a neighborhood where they never see one. People stare, they stop and gawk, eyes follow me, whispers in the local language are exchanged. I am friendly, I wave and smile and carry on, but I don’t like the attention. It wasn’t hostile in Jimmy’s neighborhood like I have encountered in others. ( I had my body guard Jack with me in case it did get hostile and I always carry pepper spray!)
We followed Mama Jimmy through the maze of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen. An open rut of sewage and human waste snaked through the entire area. I had to cover my mouth for fear of tasting the smell. I gagged. Tears swelled in my eyes at the thought of children growing up in these conditions. After sliding between buildings to the left and right we entered a narrow passage the size of a hallway in my home where several doorways held a flimsy curtain blowing in the breeze. Laundry hung over our heads creating a shade from the hot bright sun. At least a dozen people and children were gathered to see the mzungu who was expected. There were women doing wash on the stoop, snapping peas, a baby squatting playing with a sitck in the dirt, and stone hard teenage faces staring.
Mama Jimmy invited us into her home. It is smaller than my clothes closet, which is Texas sized, but still, she lives in it with her three children. She used to run a shop but she sold everything to help Jimmy get some medical treatment. Now she washes clothing for people to try and feed her children. This home was clean, organized and it had a loving peacefulness there. I have been in enough places in Uganda with the spirit of darkness hovering to feel the difference.
Her face is beautiful. She never stopped smiling and she couldn’t help but giggle the entire time because she was so overjoyed to meet us. She told us how she suffered finding help for the boy for years. She lost all her joy and all her hope as he continued to get very sick. She was out casted for his dirty problem and had to spend much time away from her two daughters to get him help. Leaving the girls alone made them vulnerable to men taking advantage of them. One man tried to get to the older girl but she escaped. So when Irene told her she found an organization to take care of her medical needs she was overjoyed. And she says she hasn’t stopped praising God and thanking God.
Truly she was not looking me in the eye and telling me thanks, she was sincerely lifting her hands to heaven and giving the glory to God. That’s what I came to be sure she knew and she already had it. The last thing I want to do is take away credit that is due to God.
I’m sure she was hoping for me to help her with all the other issues in her life that have great need. I know the list is long. I try very hard not to support the image of the mzungu who passes out money and erases all the problems. It doesn’t work. I’m prayerful and waiting to see how God will respond to her need. Perhaps there’s a way some day to loan her the funds to start up a business again and she can pay back. Perhaps Jack could help Jimmy go to school with his bread baking business. We shall see and discuss it as an organization. But I don’t want to be known as the mzungu who passes out shillings. That only breeds more dependence and helplessness. That is not how Kirabo Seeds operates. We seek to help up not hand out.
It is well with my soul to see with my own eyes how God is using Kirabo Seeds to do good work for children in desperate situations. If this cause moves you too please respond the next time a life saving opportunity is presented! The blessings you will carry in your heart all your days will far exceed the sacrifice you make.