Micah 6:8

"...do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

World Refugee Day in Gulu, Uganda

If you lived in Gulu in Northern Uganda you'd get this excited about a little shoe box of pencils, paper and small toys too. This is the area of Uganda where a rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army has been burning villages, killing, raping, and abducting thousands of children in order make them soliders. Gulu is also one of the cities that housed thousands of night commuting children who left their villages each night and walked hours and hours in order to find a safer place to sleep: under verandas and in the bus parks. Two year ago we would not have been able to visit this place. But for now there is tenuous peace agreement.

We were in Gulu to celebrate World Refugee Day (if you can really celebrate such a thing.) These kids received shoe boxes packed by families in Europe and the US as little tokens of encouragement. The young woman in this photo was looking for something a little more encouraging. She told me how her parents were gone and she was living with an Aunt and Uncle. She had finished secondary school, which is almost a miracle in place where she lives, and she really wants to study at the University. She was hoping I would sponsor her studies so she could have a future. What do you say to that? "I can't, but here have a shoe box?" We both walked away from the conversation feeling disappointed.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Write some letters to us.

The children who are singing in this video are from Faith Homes Primary School in Kapchorwa, Uganda -- one of the most beautiful and most desparate places in the world. A large percentage of the children who attend school here are orphans. Some beacause of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and some because of war. Everywhere we traveled in Uganda the plea was the same, "Don't forget us. We need you to remember that we are here and we are suffering."

Leaving Africa is always a terrible mixture of sorrow and relief. Sorrow to leave the friends I've made there, and relief to not have to look poverty in the face every moment of every day. But leaving is dangerous because it makes forgetting easier. I started this blog a year ago as a way to keep my promise to remember my friends who are suffering in Africa. I didn't have any time during the trip to write about my experiences, but maybe that's okay because writing it down now when I'm back home is one way to keep me from forgetting. Each time I sit down to write in the next few weeks, I will take some time to remember.

"Our visitors who are leaving, will you write some letters to us?"

Monday, July 7, 2008

At Home in Kenya

I haven't had much access to the internet, and I have no time to write anything good right now. (I'm okay, Mom : ) I just want to say that it so good to be back home with my good friends in Kenya and I'm so grateful for every day we have here. More later...