Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On June 25th, I did not wake up to presents and a homecooked breakfast. Instead, i woke up, put on a pair of work jeans, a somewhat "clean" tshirt, I put my unwashed hair back in a headband, and i made the same piece of toast i always do. I knew that instead of eating at a nice restaurant, i would end up eating rice for lunch outside on the dirty ground with children with malnutritioned bellies. But, this is what i wanted. I woke up with one intention, TO serve and not BE served. I prayed to be humbled and to have a birthday that was not all about me.
I walked outside with my piece of toast and my bible in hand ready to read it as I do every morning. I sat down only to find i had sat in a big glob of ketchup from the night before. Here is when my humbling day began.
I started off by going to the village of Zirobwe, the future site of the Empower A Child training center. I began the day weeding a field of corn for 3 hours (something i never imagined doing on my 20th birthday.) The day continued by bringin a torential downpour to the village followed by my (ironically) fetching water from the well in jerry cans (much harder than it seems.) Since we had more work in Zirobwe than planned, we left 3 hours after intended. After returning to Kampala, I went inside to take a shower only to find no running water. I checked the internet only to find no connection which meant no contact with any family or friends on my birthday. I ended the night in a shopping center food court eating pizza. Everyone insisted i order icecream, only to find that after waiting 30 minutes, there was none left.
Looking back it was one of those days where i can't help but laugh. Sitting in a shopping center food court wearing dirty clothes, sweaty after a long days work, with muddy chacos and unwashed hair was not exactly how i pictured the end of my birthday, but i wouldn't have it any other way.
I prayed to be humbled. I ended up having the MOST trying, patience testing, humbling day ive had since I have been here.
I can only imagine what my birthday would have looked like if i would have spent it in the states. It would for sure have been a lot different. After all, isnt a birthday supposed to be all about you right?
I can only imagine how those here in poverty spend their birthdays. Probably similar to mine: doing chores that needed to get done, fetching water..no internet, no running water. Some don't even know when their birthday is. Maybe it is just Westernized culture that had taught me to think otherwise.
I kept replaying the verse in my head all day from Phillippians 2:5-8. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God did not consider equality something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obidient to death- even death on a cross."
I know i say a lot that i am often so humbled, but I believe that it is God slowly chipping away at my heart and my pride revealing something that I hope is a little more like Him each and every day. I am emensly grateful that i could spend a birthday in Africa and in one day i could learn more than i ever thought possible.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Every weekend we have free, so yesterday we went to Jinja which is the source of the Nile river in Uganda! It was so special to see and to be able go on a boat ride in the Nile. Not a normal Saturday activity at home! It is one of the most beautiful places ever and after the boat ride we all sat for a couple hours on huge rocks that were right by the edge of the Nile and where Lake Victoria meet.
Today, we went to Watoto Church which i have always wanted to visit ever since i saw the Watoto children's choir in Orlando. They support about 2,000 children and these children travel the world, all of which are orphans, and sing and raise money for school fees. This choir has given life to the orphans. The church was fairly westernized, even though it was blazing hot in there, which is not very unusual. It was super special to be a part of especially because i found out that the Watoto Children's Choir was in Orlando last night and this morning! Crazy!!
We are off to Rakai, Uganda next Tuesday through Sunday. We are going to be building a house for one of the Empower A Child sponsor children as well as a couple other things. Rakai is where AIDS began to spread in Uganda and is one of the cities that is stricken with the most poverty. It will definitely be eye opening.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Scraping of leg casts as the drug on the ground, squeaking wheelchairs, the uneven plotting of feet on the ground as crutches braced their uneasy legs, the gentle hum of bugs buzzing around my face, the light cry of a child getting fitted for casting...the sounds of wild laughter coming from 50 smiling faces, roaring singing, wild applause from a crowd of children when a child threw a ball of paper into a plastic bucket to score a "basket".
Seems kinda contradictory hearing these same things in the same day, let alone from the same children. Yet, this is what i heard today when i went to Katalemwa.
Katamelwa is a children's hospital and rehabilatation center for children who are crippled or have some deformity. The children here have i would say the most reason to complain. However, the children are filled with so much joy.
Theres something about seeing a 15 year old boy with metal screws in and a brace on his leg coloring a makeshift cross made out of popsicle sticks on which he wrote "I love Jesus" that breaks my heart.
His name was Fernando. He is 15 and has been out of school for 3 years at Katalemwa because he had an infection in his leg and needed to have surgery. I asked him if he wanted to go to University. He lowered his head as a shy smile creept onto his face. He raised his head and said "Yes." He wants to be a surgeon to help others like he was helped. Talk about a humbling experience. He has every reason to feel sorry for himself, yet he has so much joy in Christ. The fact that these children can face so much hardship, yet praise the name of Jesus Christ so loudly astounds me.
We have also gotten the opportunity to visit a couple schools. At which, all children thirst for education so badly. I've also had the great priveledge of using the squatty potty aka hole in the ground and the bucket shower. The house we are staying at is Westernized, however, most of the time the water is not working because it is out in the entire city. However, strangely i actually enjoy the living conditions. Yes, i know. Please don't judge me. But, there is something incredibly humbling about living as the Ugandans do (in a couple ways at least) and then going out to spend time with those who know no different than a squatty potty and a bucket shower.
Can't wait to experience more :)
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you." 1 Peter 1:3-4