I always get up early on Tuesdays. It is a day the cleaning lady comes to wash my floors and rid my apartment of the relentless dust. In all honesty, I could clean the apartment myself, but it helps me a great deal and the money she earns helps her, a single mother, support her son. She is very respectful and honest and quite frankly, as slow as molasses, but all things considered, it’s a win win situation for the both of us.
Before she arrived, there was a knock on the door, a street dwelling woman whom I have been helping with some little money, food and clothes for years. I asked her where her 5 year old daughter was, and she replied: “With a friend.” I thought it strange because the girl always loves to visit me since I generally give her sweets and milk and art supplies. I asked her again why her daughter wasn’t with her. She finally said: “I lost her.” I told her that no mother looses her child and lies about it. She told me that the girl had gone to brush her teeth and had run away. No, no, no…..a 5 year old girl does not run away from the only person who cares for her. She said she had gone to the police and to places they stayed but no one could help her. I just didn’t believe her. I think she either abandoned her somewhere, gave her away or sold her to a witch doctor for sacrificing. There is little chance that she will be found, but I have put the word out that a little girl is missing and if anyone finds her, to please contact me.
We went into the slums, praying for a miracle that we might find her, but that has yet to happen. We stopped by a slum clinic to check on a boy whom we had heard about, a 13 year old whom a friend asked me to help. We found a delightfully shy small young man who is from the Arua area in northern Uganda. He told us that he had been living with his father, but his father just left one day, promising to send him money for food. But, no, the father abandoned him and he went into the slums because he had no where else to go and no one to help him. Unfortunately, while in the slums, probably sleeping, a car ran over his foot severing the toes on his right foot. A Scottish volunteer had found him, taken him to the clinic and paid for a month’s care there and a month’s food. (God bless Ruth.) He is doing remarkably well, walking on crutches and in good spirits.
He told us he has no where to go after he is released from the clinic, that he would have to go back to the streets. No, no no…..I asked if he wanted to come live with us and he bashfully hid the smile on his face and nodded yes. What’s one more boy when you already have 25? hahaha We must buy him some clothes this week, and a blanket and perhaps some books and paper and colored pencils to occupy his time until he moves to the Shelter in two weeks. We are a transitional facility, keeping boys 3 months before reuniting them with their families, but this child has no where to go, so we will pray that God opens a door and provides us with the funding so he can move on to a loving, caring foster home. (I am reminded that I still haven’t found funding for Emma, a 10 year old girl who has lived at the Shelter for 3 months pretending to be Emmanuel, a boy, because she had no where else to go!)
And now it’s only 10:30 am…..still shopping to do for the Shelter, a visit to make Christmas tree ornaments and to say goodbye to Peter, who is leaving today, and many more errands. People ask me if I’m ready for Christmas and all I can do is smile! I will varnish salt dough ornaments tonight to be painted and decorated on Saturday, plan a Christmas menu for the 30 boys and staff (which unfortunately involves a huge trip to at least 2 markets), buy candy and fill 25 stockings…..to be hung late Sunday night after the boys are sleeping, buy small gifts for our homeless friends and the boy at the clinic, attend the amazing Christmas Cantata at my church, check on the progress of the ladies and the Soap Project and on and on. I put up a small tree in my apartment several weeks ago but it has only been lit up once because every night for the past 13 days I have been without electricity. I’m generally too tired in the evenings to go through the hassle of lighting my small kerosene cook stove, so my evening meal consists of anything from cold macaroni to cold samosas or cucumbers and tomatoes.
My days are busy….can’t begin to tell you how much I would appreciate a Walmart or Target, but every purchase requires inching through traffic to go to the egg store, or the banana lady or the Bible man and in my case, looking for things that no one in Uganda has ever heard of, haha. What??? No manila folders, no hair spray, no yard sticks or dominos? I guess it makes sense when consistent electricity is nonexistent and we have been without running water at the Shelter for 2 months!
I do wish y’all a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. May your lives abound in blessings and you find peace and contentment in all aspects of your lives. May the good and merciful Father watch over you, may Jesus walk by your side and may the Holy Spirit live within you. I heartily thank you for your prayers and support. Huge hugs from Uganda.