I often find myself thinking “burn this scene into my mind.” I want to remember every landscape, sound (maybe minus the roosters at 4:30am), and feeling. Our van travels these last few days have taken our team past some beautiful landscape, bumpy roads and all kinds of smiling faces. Here most wave at the mysterious Muzungus driving by and we wave right back.
It’s officially been one week staying in our little 2 bedroom bungalow at 10 acres. While our little abode is familiar to us, today was another day of new experiences. (PS. 10 acres is the Children’s Village, Peace Portal Uganda Church has for children living in vulnerable situations. Most are between the ages of 8-15.)
Post the pandemic many youth were not able to move from primary school to secondary school. The lock downs from the pandemic here left many people in extreme economic hardship and many young people were asked by their families to find a vocation to help with expenses. To help meet the need of training students for a vocation, Peace Portal church renovated a portion of one of their meeting halls into a sewing classroom. Now they have a tailor class where young women can learn a trade that will help them provide for their families. And an added bonus, these students can bring their babies to class while they learn.
It was really inspiring to meet the girls, see the projects they are working on and also hear from their instructor Sarah. Sarah is a trained councillor and seamstress and has such a passion to help these girls.
After our visit we jumped in the van and headed up the road to Kampiringisa Youth Rehabilitation Centre. Uganda’s sole juvenile detention facility is a centre for youths who currently have no alternative to prison. Today we met 175 boys and 5 girls. The conditions were really tough to see. And being that I have kids close to the ages of these youth (age 12-18), I really felt pain for them all. Adapting on the fly to accommodate the number of kids, we were able to present a message of hope and one where they do not need to be defined by their past but can chose a new future for themselves. They can believe they are special and that they are strong. After our large group session we broke off into 3 small groups. 1 girls group for Ashley and Debbie D, a group of 18 boys for myself and Patty and then Barbara and Debbie V met with another group of 15 boys. We heard their stories and worked with them to build dream boards with the intention to help them have a hope for the future.
Next we grabbed a quick bite to eat, packed up some more supplies for 2 more compassion and care visits and headed off on the red dirt road again.
First we visited Aisha, a single mom with 4 kids under 6 years old. Her unfortunate news was that she just just been informed of some tumours in her abdomen. She has no funds for further exploration for treatment. Her prayer was that her children stay healthy, nothing for herself. Then after a long bumpy ride high up a mountain we met Katharine. Another single mother caring for her 3 children. She is a beautiful woman from the inside out and the love she has for her children touched me.
Today was a lot. It was heart hard. But we also got the gift of joy, hope and a promise that eternal love is lifting us all.
Goodnight from Uganda,