Today we head out early to one of the village churches. One of my favorite gals I’ve met here, Rachel, the wife of Pastor Stephan, greets us as we arrive. It is amazing the red roads and the winding path we take past hundreds of people walking on the side of the roads with sugarcane on their heads, and a baby strapped to their back. The boda-boda’s pass us at breakneck speed, even with passengers on the back as they are taxiing people around. They weave in and out of traffic. I talk to a doctor who works in the intensive care at one of the hospitals and he said there are many, many youth who get killed in motorcycle accidents as they rarely wear helmets. We even see a man on a boda-boda with a white coffin horizontally placed across the back strapped on. Must be a funeral somewhere nearby.
We pass shack after shack, and beautiful young children everywhere. You see the median age here is 15. You rarely see anyone over 40 years old. And the women always are dressed very nicely with their long dresses, nice shoes and brightly colored shirts. They are very modest. You don’t see shoulders or cleavage.
We arrive at the church a little late, but it seems like we’re always late. Two hours, and no one seems to mind. Philip has wonderfully arranged over a dozen pastors who have traveled to the church from different villages: some who are in his discipleship leadership training, and others who are coming to be encouraged. David speaks on the importance of putting family first. I speak on the problem of overcoming bitterness to living in forgiveness as I truly believe that there is a bitter root deep in many of the men’s hearts against other tribes and other people groups. I think if this bitterness is resolved, more people can live peacefully, deal with their anger, and become forgiving and loving as Christ wants is to live.
The women take me to a room to show me purses, necklaces, and artwork with me. They look at me longingly. It is heartbreaking to decide which purses I’m going to buy. I pick four of them. Naomi graciously gets me a pair of sandals she made; they have my name sewn upon them.
I am so humbled.
We arrived at the second children’s home which is called One More Child. This children’s home is greatly on Phillips heart, as he believes the work they do is very significant.
You see, they go out at night and get the street children.
These are the ones who are rejected, abused, and hated. Almost all of them are from a particular tribe called the Karamajong. The director, Bosco, tells us how they teach the children and share the word of God with them, feed them, and place them in homes that will love them and care for them.
We go next-door to a very large outdoor park where almost 200 children are happily playing. They are all Karamajong, cared for by this children’s home. They seem very happy to see us, in fact, they sing and dance for us some songs and dances they have prepared. Their song is
“visitor, visitor, we are very very happy to see you, yes we are very, very happy to see you!”
Their tribe is a nomadic tribe, and although they look very similar to all the rest of the children in Uganda, they are shown great contempt by the locals. I can see that this children’s home really is an expert at maintaining their dignity and caring for them.