Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm sitting here in my room at the Hotel Africana with African dance music playing in the background, my children asleep in their mosquito netting, yet feeling so far from the pain we experienced over the past three days. We were able to Skype my parents this afternoon and both Dano and I felt overwhelmed with tears as we shared with them. We realized that with all we've experienced, we haven't had a chance to really sit with what we've seen.
Our leader asked us last night what were one or two moments that really stood out to us on the trip. The first for me was meeting Beatrice, a widow who started a widows outreach ministry that no has 20,000 widows registered with them. Beatrice lost her husband to a boda-boda (moped) accident. He was a pastor. She was taken in by her brother, but he took advantage of her financially, which often happens. In Uganda you are considered a "problem" if you are a widow. FOr some, they cannot even drink water out of the same well as others because it is believed they will bring their problems to the water. Beatrice told me that one night as she lay crying, God told her to stop mourning and that he couldn't do what he wanted to do through her until she stopped mourning. Beatrice then had a dream where there was a widow in shackles, laying on the ground. ALl of a sudden, the woman stood up and broke free. Beatrice knew then she was to help widows break free. She turned her mourning into dancing. THen through a series of miraculous events, she met this guy, Dave McPherson, who helped her start this widows ministry. At her first conference for the widows, they had 4000 women show up. THey didn't even have money for food. Beatrice said she had two sacks of rice and beans, but didn't know how they'd feed everyone with that. THey prayed and then she said she saw a miracle take place. Every time they took food out, it was as if food was put back in. And they were able to feed everyone. We also went to a hospice center she runs. This was a very beautiful, yet tremendously place to be. Dano took the girls out for this part because the women were so sick - many had cancer all over their bodies. The only drug that could be given to them was morphine to take away the pain. Nothing else would work.I sat there holding hands with a woman who is the same age as my mother and yet looks at least 20 years older. Her son was killed trying to escape Uganda - shot down. Now she has no one to look after her.
The second moment that really stuck out to me was my daughter. Yesterday was very difficult. We visited an orphan-led household. You'll notice when I finally get to upload my pictures that I don't have too many of individual children. Personally, I really struggled with whether or not to take photographs. I felt like I was invading their space - a stranger coming in to their world for only a brief moment and yet asking if I could do such a personal thing as capture them in a photo. This was a real struggle for me at this camp because watching their faces, and their sadness, they knew we were only there for a brief time. And that broke my heart. I have never seen such destitution as I saw in this little village, located so remotely from town. Six huts stood around a common area. The food supply is extremely limited. William, the eldest, is now 18, and he is in charge of his family of six. Both parents died. They cannot go to school. He cannot feed them. We only had juice and biscuits to give. There are six other orphan-led households nearby. If we could get a carepoint in here and have all six families sponsored, then we could get these kids to private school, provide them with food, provide them with padlocks to prevent rape, provide them with a uniform to replace their tattered clothing. So I am praying for a sponsor for William and the other six households.