When I first started working in Uganda, someone told me “the highs are high, and the lows are low” and that couldn’t be truer. Today was an emotional roller coaster of a day, and definitely one of the lows. Forgive me if this post rambles, or isn’t my usual, I am still processing all today held.
We started the day in a good way, doing home visits. Today we were visiting the children who live on the far outskirts of the village, that meant driving to their homes and not walking. So, that’s a win for the day.
Most home visits are good ones, its great to see things improving in our families. I love seeing single moms making it, working hard to take care of their families. I love seeing single dads stepping up, that makes my heart happy. Sometimes home visits are heartbreaking, and some are frustrating. Today there was a mixture of all of those.
Yesterday we found out that the brother of our dear friend, who was also the father of some of my boys, passed away and today was his burial. I have never been to a Ugandan burial, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hundreds of people gathered in our new building, there were speeches and the priest prayed. What broke my heart is when five of my kids stood in front of everyone, and Brian the oldest was told he is the man of the family now and you could just see that responsibility weighing on him.
As hard as it was to be there, I am glad I was. To be there for our friend Patrick and to be there for the boys, but also to truly be a part of the community. I have to be there for the good times, the happy times, the bad times and the sad times…that is part of being in a community here, and I am blessed and honored to be a part of it, even on days like today.
After the burial, it was time to go finish a home visit that I knew was going to be a hard one. I don’t want to go into many details, but the mom is very sick and is refusing treatment and she has 8 children that she will be leaving behind. We tried to help her, we sent her to the hospital to get treatment, but she left the hospital without even telling our staff.
It is so frustrating for me to see a mother not wanting to fight to be healthy for her kids. I sat there talking to the mom while looking into the faces of her children and I just got angry. Angry that she was giving up, angry that she won’t be there for her children. By the end of the discussion, most of us were in tears..we felt defeated and helpless.
I had to find a silver lining, I had to walk away seeing God somewhere. So I called over Hakim, her son. A few months ago, you may remember, we got bibles in Lusoga (the local language) for the village and Hakim had been given one. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Hakim is Muslim, but he wanted a Bible.
We don’t ask our kids what they believe, we don’t force them to convert in order to be in our program. We just love them, serve them and show them Jesus through our actions. Hakim’s sponsor didn’t know either, and when he would write him letters he would share scripture with him, and pray for him. In Hakim’s last letter to his sponsor, he told him how he was reading his bible and how he wanted to learn more about the God that was helping him, providing for him, caring for him.
I asked Hakim if he was still reading his Bible, and he said yes. I asked him to bring it to me. He brought me his bible, it was dirty and worn and you could tell he had been spending a lot of time with it. I asked him if he had a favorite verse, he said yes. I asked him if he wanted to know mine and he did. So I opened it to my favorite verse, and I read it to him. I marked it in hisBiblee and told him that every time he read that one he could think of me and know I am always praying for him.
I looked him in the face and saw the tear streaks down his cheeks, he had been listening to the conversation with his mom, and I guess he understood more than I thought he had. I hugged him tight and just prayed for God to be with him, to comfort him, to love him through this and to be present in his life.
The drive out of the village was a quiet one, we dropped off Eunice and Nelson (her brother in law) and headed to town. We stopped at the Deli for some comfort food….sandwiches and a milk shake…tonight we were eating our feelings…and it was ok.
Praying for a better day tomorrow, but finding the good through out today.
Off to bed….sula bulungi!