Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ivan A.

This is Ivan A. He is in Baby Class at Vision of Destiny International School, the school I started last year. He's one of the fortunate children that is attending.
Ivan is 4 years old so should actually be a class ahead of where he is but due to lack of school fees he never attended school last year.
He has two older brothers and a younger sister. Each has a different father and no father is any where to be seen. I don't think Ivan has ever even met his dad. He lives in a one room house with his mom and siblings. His mom is a drunkard, consistently lies, and isn't very cooperative with the rules at school.
However, Ivan is very cooperative, a bright learner, and full of life.
The first time I met Ivan, he was filthy, skinny, barely talked, and wouldn't smile. Just after one month in school, all that had changed. Ivan comes to school clean. This is a requirement which his mom took some time to be able to comply with. After us taking Ivan home from school, not allowing him to stay for the day for about a week, she finally decided to bring him when he was bathed. Since getting two meals a day from school, plus the one he gets at home, he's put on some weight. He smiles and can be seen playing with other children while running and shouting.
Ivan is one example of how sponsorship works, how it changes a life. It might be a small change, but it's a change. He now has a chance to go to school and maybe do something in the future that he otherwise would never have been able to do.
Please pray for Ivan: that he will know the Lord, love the Lord, study hard in school and become the man that God wants him to be.
Pray for Ivan's mom: that she will come to know and love the Lord, that she will stop drinking, that she will love and care for her children the way God intends for her to
Pray for Ivan's sponsor: that the sponsor (a family) will know they are loved and appreciated, that they will know how much impact they have made on a life, and that everything they have given will be returned to them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moved In

So, moving is always a chore. And it has proven to be even more so this time. I've never moved with kids before....... in the middle of sickness (both me and the kids)........ while working a full time job that seems at times to be more like 3 full time jobs (although very rewarding so no complaints).
But, finally, we are moved. Out of our two bedroom apartment into our three bedroom house! The kids are loving it. I am too. No one from the slum knocking on our door all hours of the night begging for rent or school fees. Privacy! Peace! When even my silent child, Mary, started complaining of the knocks on the doors, I knew something had to be done. One solution.... move!
One advantage to the new house is having two bathrooms. I have my own in the master bedroom! I'm loving not sharing a toilet with little kids! It actually stays clean!
And the kids love their shower. It hangs over them so they tell me they like bathing in the rain! They also have a yard to play in, although it's mostly concrete, not much grass. But, still, they have a place to run around and shout. And they do! The whole afternoon after school they spend running around outside, shouting, playing, getting to do what kids do! And I hear we might be getting a blow up swimming pool for them from some friends in the states some time this year........ OH the fun they are going to have!
So, that is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much lately. Between moving and not feeling well, not really much time or words to be said.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Need and Want

There is a struggle that comes with living overseas. It's carried over from the culture I was born into as well as a struggle that reigns within the country I live in. It's a struggle between two worlds, two realities. Rich vs. poor. Abundance vs. lack. How do I live with the guilt of what I have been blessed with while so many have so little?
American culture says we need a lot. We need everything. We need everything newer. We need everything bigger and flashier. We need everything that is better. Without leaving the borders of the U.S., I probably never would have noticed this. When I speak about this to those that have never stepped into a third world country, I am usually met with a blank stare.
But, the problem is obvious. And it's not just America vs. Uganda. Even within Uganda, it's obvious between the haves and the have nots. It's the same struggle.
Most of the time I'm content with what I have. I might occassionaly crave a food from home or long for a new shirt, jeans, or pair of shoes. But, mostly, I am content. However, once in a while, I struggle with those cultural pressures, the desires (lies) that lead me to believe that my wants are really needs. There's the struggle: how can I feel that way when I look at the environment around me?
I don't really need most of what I own but find myself wanting more. The life I live in Uganda is not a hard life, especially when compared to others. I spent my first several years here living in a one room shack, no electricity, no water. I traded that in for a two bedroom apartment. And am again trading my two bedroom apartment in for a three bedroom house.
It's still stretching at times. Water and power go off, sometimes for weeks at a time. But, I'm not living in a house that leaks. Me and my small family are not crowded into a tiny space. I can afford medicine when we need it. We don't sleep hungry (although I wish we could afford more meat- again, a want not a need). Yes, it gets hot at times. But, we can open up the windows for fresh air and not worry about the smell of sewage creeping in.
So, in writing this, I have found no answers. The struggle will continue. All I can do is pray that I find a healthy balance while living in an unjust world.