I have only been in Uganda three weeks yet so much has happened.
The more I dig below the surface of the Ugandan culture, the more I see how deeply kind, caring and inspirational they are.
A few days ago I had the privilege of going on a slum awareness tour. I had mixed feelings about going, I didn’t want to go and be the rich westerner that looked down in pity, then went home and forgot about them.
But as we walked into the slum, I suddenly felt God’s presence, he was here in this place.
Children ran past us and we greeted them with smiles. Women came out of their homes and waved. As we walked along I was aware a group of young boys were following us, but didn’t think much of it.
We stoped by a house and a little girl came out with her brother and sister, we took photos. All of a sudden there was a commotion and our tour guide Syrill took off running. One of my fellow volenteers had had her phone stolen from her hand.
Suddenly people around from everywhere, upset by what had taken place. We were guided to a seat and waited. Finally after a few minutes our tour guide came back and said “you will get your phone back within 30 minutes. This is Zebra and he has told the theif he has 30 minutes to bring your phone back.
Zebra is a famous boxer who has come back to his country to train and inspire young men to become champion boxers. He had set up a network in the slum to control the violence and crime in the slum.
While we waited for the phone to be returned we went to Syrills orphanage he had started. We meet the children and he took us to the school he runs for over 58 children. It was no more than a few planks of wood with a roof. He told us that when it rained the children can no longer study so they are unable to study as much as they need too.
It was in that moment, I knew I wanted to help restore and build the school.
Then before we knew it,the phone had been returned, safe and sound.
We returned home feeling inspired and deeply impacted.
To understand a country we need to look beyond the beauty and touristy parts and look deeply in the vulnerable places. What a great honour it is when we are gifted the opportunity to see the brokenness.
The slum which I visited is home to over 500,000 people who live in extreme poverty, children raising children, women selling their bodies just to buy food for their children. People dying from HIV and AIDS. Children left alone. But in this darkness there is light, wonderful people like Zebra, Syrill and many more who are using their own painful experiences to do amazing things. Teaching, providing homes for the orphanaed, feeding the hungry, spreading God’s love and light. Though Christ the hopeless are receiving hope. Here stands greatness. They are God’s hands and feet.