Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday

Today was a good and very busy day and something tells me this is going to be a long post...

First things first, I know you’re all anxiously awaiting picture of all of our school supplies for Saturday’s distribution. It took some running around but we did manage to purchase the rest of the stuff today so, here it is…



60 backpacks, 600 exercise books, 60 packages of pencil crayons and 108 batteries for calculators.
The grand total… a little over $1,000,000… in Ugandan Shillings that is (approximately $730 Canadian Dollars).

Here is what is going in each bag.



10 exercise books, 8 pencils, 5 pens, 12 colored pencils, 1 calculator, 1 ruler, 1 eraser.

In the end we decided to do only 60 bags as only about half of the 100 kids that go to Kids Club actually go to school. So, that means that the kids are getting a few more pens, pencils, etc. in their bag and any extra school supplies will be going to a local school that I know and love here in Kampala.

Another big accomplishment today, I bought my bus ticket for the Congo! It was no small feat, let me tell you… For months now I have been asking all my African friends to look into buses to the Congo for me but none of them have had any luck. Today, before doing anything else, Bonny and I headed over to the bus park to try to sort it all out. We asked everyone we saw and everyone said that there are no buses that go to Congo. The people I will be working with in the Congo told me to take a bus called “Ideal Express” but no one out of the dozens of people we talked to had heard of it. After about 30 minutes it appeared that the only way was for me to take a bus to Rwanda and then transfer from there. For obvious reasons, I did not like that plan and I started to pray that God would point us in the right direction or help us talk to the right person or something. As we were heading to the office for the bus to Rwanda, Bonny all of a sudden stopped and turned around. There behind us was a small little office and in the window was a small, white, 5x7 sign with the words “Ideal Express” written on it in simple ballpoint pen. The fact that Bonny spotted it was a true miracle and it was indeed the right place, a direct bus from Kampala to Bukavu. God is so faithful. Every time I start to question if maybe I’m crazy for doing this, He works things out in such a way that I can’t deny that His hand of favour is on this trip. The bus leaves at 9 p.m. and at first I wasn’t too sure about traveling at night but it’s actually perfect because it means I will be arriving in Congo during the daytime as opposed to travelling during the day and arriving in Congo when it is dark. Once again I am certain that this is where God wants me and that He will continue to pave the way ahead of me.

So, as much as I have been enjoying my time with my friends over the past few days, I have been so looking forward to being with precious African children. Today I got that opportunity. The places I’ve been for the past few days see so many Muzungus (white people) that the children have hardly reacted to my presence there but today was different. This morning I went with Bonny to see his family and as we walked we could hardly carry on a conversation as every child we passed quickly noticed me, the seemingly out of place white girl, and ran up to shake my hand or waved and shouted out the few English phrases they know: “Muzungu! How are you? Bye, Muzungu!”… I loved every minute of it. As we walked I enjoyed just observing the children. Toys are few and far between around here yet that does not stop them from playing… Running alongside old bicycle wheels while pushing them down the road, chasing chickens (a favourite of our toddlers back at Amani), playing football (a.k.a. soccer) with old newspaper tied together with string, a box with an old plastic hanger as a wheel for an imaginary car, a sort of makeshift bowling with rocks and old batteries and my personal favourite today, three boys pulling “cars”, rectangular juice cartons with water bottle lid wheels and a long string attached…

Anyway, back to telling you about Bonny’s family. When I first met Bonny three and a half years ago, his brother had recently been killed, leaving behind a one year old little boy. Bonny took that child in as his own and has been providing for him and raising him with the help of his mother for nearly four years. In addition to his nephew, Bonny has also taken in two other children, of no relation to him, who have also been orphaned. Last time I was here (2.5 years ago) I got to meet Bonny’s nephew and today I had the privilege of meeting the other two children as well. As we rounded the corner to where Bonny lives, my heart melted as these three little ones ran towards Bonny with open arms squealing, “Daddy!” His love for them and theirs for him was written all across each one of their faces and it was such a precious sight to see.



Simon – Don’t let this picture fool you. This little one is full of smiles and personality, he was just very confused about the contraption I was holding up to his face.



Bridget – She was so quiet. I couldn’t get her to smile but she was content to come and cuddle on my lap with her new teddy bear.



Joram –This little man is a bundle of energy. Here he is happily showing off his new “dolly” and Bible (Thanks Marlene and Bonnie!)



After leaving his place Bonny took me to see another little boy, a one year old with HIV. This child and his father had been staying with Bonny up until about a month ago when the father died of AIDS. Now the child is back with his mother however his mother doesn’t want him and is threatening to leave. Bonny is heartbroken, not knowing what to do. He loves this child as his own and would love to take him in but he is already supporting three children and is truly not sure he can handle any more, not to mention the medical needs of this child. I saw him today and was concerned about his protruding belly, thin hair and lethargy (Casey, if you’re reading this I know your heart just skipped a beat). I would have loved to have held him but he was not a fan of Muzungus and clung to Bonny for dear life :)

After spending the day with Bonny I can say that I have been truly humbled and challenged. You see, Bonny supports these four children, along with another 10-12 who he helps with school fees and school supplies, entirely out of his own pocket, from the money he makes training choirs. Bonny has learned to rely totally on God’s provision. He told me stories today of times when he had less than $10 left and he would simply laugh and pray, “God, you know I have nothing. These are not my children, You are the one who gave them to me. You need to feed them.” And the next day, without fail, money would come in. Still, everything Bonny makes goes towards these kids and when he doesn’t have much, he himself goes to bed hungry so that they can eat. We talked a lot today about the mentality of those who work simply for themselves and their own families. Bonny believes, as I do, that we are called to take what God has given us, use only what we need, and then give the rest back to Him by giving to those in need. This is what I believe but I am a long way from living it out the way Bonny is. One thing’s for sure, the next time I think I have nothing to give, I will remember Bonny and think twice.

3 comments:

David said...

great to see your writing alot... greta stuff. Praying for you. Seems like you're already very much being God's living and local presence in Africa!

Caylen said...

What beautiful children. And what a guy. Wow. Safe travels, Andrea. When do you leave?

andrea said...

I'm leaving for Congo on February 1st.