This is Africa ... expect the unexpected!
Our lives as you can imagine have been pretty chaotic and the underlining theme must surely be ...this is Africa...expect the unexpected!
We have arrived in Entebbe, Uganda after 3 nights in Rwanda, and in 4 hours time we expect to be driven to the project by Pastor Stephen and his wife Nora. In the meantime we have one very excited young lady Harriet also trying to find us ...I think she is in Kampala. Central Africa, in this area anyway, is filled with motorbikes, affluence, poverty, red dirt, incompetence, and ridiculousness .....but the people are friendly, respectful and always willing to please.
We went very close to missing our flight yesterday due to our forth security check (x- ray and frisk) when the guy took a liking to our 220 tooth brush holders, and asked me to take my belt off (again) which resulted in a mad dash scramble to the plane (sans belt) with hands full and the awful feeling that I was going to lose my pants as I rushed to the bus that would take us to the aircraft taking us to Uganda. The irony was that there was a generator malfunction and we were sitting on the tarmac for over an hour ....so in reality this over zealous 18-year old in a uniform could have examined all 220 tooth brushes to his hearts content. However, with all that aside, I want to tell you of two real miracle stories that happened at our first stop off in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.
1. Daniel, the young man who has metaphored from a young boy of only 7 to (after 18 years of sponsorship and support on the TearFund/Compassion programme) a young man of 25 is a real joy to behold. He is creative and proudly wears one of three "I love you" t-shirts with photos of us on to University where he is studying Business and IT. He is doing really well and has big dreams of a career that he has already mapped out costed and spreadsheeted into a very well thought through business plan. And this is where the first (maybe second miracle) has happened. The fact that this boy (now turned man) was lifted out of poverty, has been given a future and a voice and a life has been amazing in itself and something we praise and thank God for.
But this is the kicker. When I came to see Daniel in 2015, when he had left the project and his school and but for a miracle would have lost contact with him for ever, I met the project director of Compassion in Kampala - Pastor Eugene Bahire. He arranged for me to meet Daniel who had returned to his isolated village (4 hours by local bus and motorbike) and would act as interpreter as Daniel could not speak a word of English. (Daniel has in the 2.5 years since has self taught himself to speak English to an advance stage that he can even understand my supple jokes). Daniel has since become a close family member of Pastors Eugene and Joy and their children, and lives with them during University semesters.
And this is where the miracle kicks in. In 1994 the Rwandan Genocide shocked the world. Over 800,000 people of Hutu and Tutsi background where systematically and brutally slaughtered and over 250,000 woman were brutally raped . All this happened over only 100 days. It is well worth reading the full story and I suggest you google Rwanda Genocide. It has traumatised the nation even today but remarkably this nation has mended and the population of some 12 million live in harmony. But only a few years ago Daniel and Eugene would never have been able to associate far less live in the same house. They are from different tribal backgrounds ...one a Hutu the other a Tutsi. Daniels father was caught up and was accused to being an instigator and has (and still is) for many years been locked away in jail. Today, Pastors Eugene and Joy with their new family member Daniel are an example to the nation of how to live in peace.
2. The second miracle was one that happened because of our visit of several days ago, and my visit of 2015. When I was meeting Daniel and Eugene at the hotel in 2015 I was staying in, a lady showed interest in why an aging white man would be meeting with two black men and having photos taken. Her name was Josse, she was a house cleaner, making sure my room was clean and serviced for the several days I was there. Josse didn't speak English, but somehow one of her four children kept in touch with me through stuttering English on Facebook.
I since learnt very, very hard times had befallen Josse with health problems, her husband had abandoned her and her 4 children, and the hotel where she worked had sacked the entire staff when they changed ownership and brought their own people in to work for free (or lower wages...if this was possible).
Through Pastor Eugene we were able to arrange for Josee to have lunch with all of us and through the inspired presence of God , Dalaine and I have set her up in a very small Micro-Enterprise Business which will allow her to set up in a building a small stall to sell basic food commodes to the people in her area. The funding will allow her to pay for the rent, the shelving, the food products etc and after 6 months she will repay the advancement given to allow another needy family to be supported. To see Josee going to the Kilgali Bank and open up a business account, and the absolute joy it brought to her was without doubt one of the most satisfying days of both our lives.
It also marked the forerunner of what we planned to bring to the village of Kakuuto in South West Uganda ....home of the Best BakeHouse .... a series of micro loans and micro enterprise projects to help the very poor. Stay tuned for more, and if you would like to contribute and help a family set-up a micro-enterprise business, please get in touch.
We're expecting more of the unexpected as we arrive in Kakuuto soon,
Lindsay and Dalaine