It is a very hot day for this time of year in Eastern Uganda. It is even unusual and we have had a long dry season compared to other years. There is much rain now, but it is still hot and humid during the day. Uganda normally has a very mild climate with temperatures reaching around 75 F, but lately the temperatures are around 90 to 100 F.
There is no electricity and it is hard to sleep. I praise the Lord that at least I have a bed and a pillow, and it is even clean. I give thanks for all that the Lord has provided. I go on my knees and begin to cry out to our Lord for Uganda. I pray for the government that seems to be unstable. I pray for the Lord’s touching and direction on the president and all of his workers. I begin to pray for the people. My mind then drifts to the children and I begin to cry. The children. Who will save the children, oh Lord? They have little to eat, sleep in the dirt, even many of the houses are made from mud and sticks from the trees and grass on top. I begin to think of the rain we had in the evening and know that very many of the children have slept another night in a wet area of the mud in their mud hut. I know some are sick with malaria and have not had any treatment from lack of care or lack of funds. They get bites all night from ants and other insects. I have learned the meaning of “Don’t let the bedbugs bite!”
After I pray for some time, I find my way to the kitchen where the children living with me are about to have breakfast. It is just beginning to get light outside. We have candles lit and I thank God for the candles. I know that most just have to stumble in the darkness. We also have some charged lights that run by batteries that we can charge when the electricity is on, and electricity is rare these days. I see that my children are smiling and are clean and eating fine. They even excel in school. I believe because of good care they excel in most everything. I give thanks again for the Lord providing.
The children go off to school and I begin my day after some quiet time with the Lord. From there I go to the office and my mind is taken by the sounds of a woman screaming and crying from the clinic nearby. This is the very clinic that HUM helped to build and helps support. I learn that her child has died from malaria. She herself is not well. To make matters worse, her husband has died from AIDS and she has no money. She will not marry again, for she too is infected. She has many other children at home. She delayed to bring the child as she had no money and did not know what to do. An hour later her brother comes to me in the office and asks me if I can help them with the burial. They have no money to bury the child and no one to turn to. Usually children are just wrapped in a cloth and put in a hole in the ground. Again, I try to find some little money from my own pocket to help them.
I go back to my room and cry out to God again with many tears asking him why the children have to suffer so much. I pray for them and ask God to help them and to give me strength and courage and direction.
A short time later an older woman comes with two younger ones. She has a hernia and needs an operation but has no money. I struggle to help them get her into the car and the car will not start. The car is now six years old and was 10 years old when we bought it. This is like new to many Ugandans as few even own cars. The woman cannot walk, so we have to carry her. We take her to the hospital in Mbale in the van. There is no one there to help us. She is in pain. We have to wait until a doctor comes on duty and there are no beds available – she will have to lay on the floor. The hospital does not provide food or sheets or anything. If you want these things you have to provide for yourself. There is a nurse on duty but the woman is not seen because there are too many patients. After a few hours, I have to leave her there with the two younger women and little money.
I return home and it is now lunchtime. I have not done any work in the office today as yet and this afternoon I have a Bible Study to prepare for. I eat my lunch quickly and go to the office. A teacher comes to tell me he has a discipline problem with one of our sponsored kids. We may end up spending over an hour discussing the problems. By the time I finish dealing with the situation I have only an hour to prepare for my lesson. After the study, yet another medical problem arises.
When I am in America people often ask me what a typical day is like. I am giving you an idea of what a day can be like and every day is different. I have a hard time explaining, as I may have a schedule, but God has a different one. There is no typical day in Uganda. Every day is different. I give thanks and praise to the Lord for the days that are normal, but they are rare. You truly learn to give thanks in all circumstances, as you must look for the positive always. Without the Lord, you cannot manage or make it here when you have been raised, sometimes spoiled, in a country like America. I give thanks for all the blessings that God has given to fellow friends and people of my country, America. America the great!
I did not grow up rich. I have had good parents, and they provided for us and loved us as children, and continue to be supportive and loving to us as adults. I lost my mother in a car accident when I was 19 years of age. I have a wonderful stepmother who is very supportive and caring. I again give thanks and praise to the Lord. I always had a bed to sleep in and food on the table. I always had clothes to wear and was able to go to a good school. There is so much to give thanks for. I do not ever remember the roof leaking or being eaten by bugs at night. I had a good bath every day. Not at all like a child you would find in Uganda.
I look around me here in Uganda and see that the children are not cared for. They are not taught – many never go to school. Their parents are dying. Here where I live in the Budaka District at least 1 of every 3 adults is dying of AIDS. They tell me it is getting better – but it is hard to see. We have burials every week where children are burying their parents. What will happen to these children? We are glad that HUM can help at least some of them. I continue to pray and believe that only through the Lord, Jesus can we make a difference and give any hope.
I know there are many organizations out there, but I do not see any of them in the Pallisa District of Uganda – the second poorest district in the third poorest country in the world. A place where the biggest problem is AIDS and children are left alone. A place that goes beyond we can imagine. A place that God laid on my heart as a teenager and brought me here eleven years ago and founded HUM in 1999. A place where you can make a difference together with us. I pray God touches your heart today.
God bless you, Katherine