Little Adam is 2 years old and he is HIV positive. This child has captured our hearts and has a permanent place in all of our arms every day. Today the "heavy duty" wheelbarrow carrying granitelike rock broke as John and Mark were wheeling it down to the pig pen site. So we all had to carry these very heavy rocks by hand. Little Adam though set the tone for us all being one family helping each other. He ran to the rock pile and picked up the largest rock that his little hands could carry and with a big smile on his face, he headed towards the pig pens. Soon the older children joined in, and we were truly working hand in hand. It was a beautiful site to behold.
We bought fruit trees today - orange, lemon, mango and guava. Kelly for sure has the strongest muscles of the girls on our team as she was able to carry this very heavy container of water from the well down to the orchard.And there was our little Adam again, running down to help her pour the water onto the planted trees. Then as cute as could be, he curled up in Kelly's arms and fell soundly asleep.
Two days ago, I walked onto the balcony of the hotel and locked eyes with a women who was hand washing clothes for her 4 children below. They live in a very rudimentary building with no real roof and half built walls. We just stared at each other for what seemed like hours, although I am sure it was only a few seconds. I realized that every day she looks up from her very difficult work and sees a world of hotel guests who live a life quite different from hers. This morning as I watched her 7 year old Janet chop the wood for the morning fire, and the younger children search for wood, I knew that we were being called to her and her family. Mark, John and I headed down to her hut with food and kitchen cooking supplies and we were greeted with such an innocent joy. The children ran out to embrace us and Mamma soon lost her tenuous protective nature and also embraced us. Tonight we took more food and we were greeted as family. And that is what the people of Uganda are like - loving, warm and open, even to us "strangers."
The children in our village do not go to school as it is at least a 5 mile walk each way. It is not that they are not willing to walk that far; it is because so many of these children have been abducted by child traffickers. I also learned today that several of their mothers ended their own lives in the grief of their children being taken and knowing what life would now face their precious children. When we visited the schools last Friday I walked into a first grade classroom in which the teacher was using a poster to teach her students about the dangers of child trafficking. It is so very sad that this goes on in the world, and worse so that it is tolerated. These children are so precious. Building a school on our land is the only way to protect them while they are being more formally educated. I don't know how we will accomplish that yet, but I know that we will.
It is a true honor and great blessing to be working in Uganda. Team Rafiki and The Giving Circle are a strong partnership. And together we are growing our family in this village and the surrounding area.While we have provided many different kinds of tools and education here, each of us will be taking home to the US so much more than we came here with. The serenity and warmth that has infused our hearts and souls here will far outweigh the caretakers house, pig pens and chicken coops and gardens that we made. Every day I give thanks for the direction that sent me here. And every day I give thanks for my family and friends who are so supportive of our work so far from home.