In the United States, we sometimes forget what it is like to be bright but to have no future. There is no money for school fees or a uniform which would allow a child to go to government run schools, much less a private Christian School in Uganda. Your day may consist of helping your mother take care of 5 or more younger siblings, gathering wood to start a fire or tending the few plants you can grow in the yard of your one room mud brick house. In the case of my Ugandan daughter Annet, you crack small rocks into smaller ones at a quarry.
I wrote earlier after my last trip about how Annet was seen in the back ground of a photo of other children that went on to be sponsored through Divine Care Ministries. Mamma Phoebe Sozi noticed this young girl in the photo and sought her out. Finding her working in the quarry, she asked me if I would like to sponsor her. Of course, I said yes. In the intervening years, Annet has turned out to be an excellent student. Currently she is attending a secondary school that is known to be advanced in their science and mathematics departments.
When I saw Annet she looked so smart in her new uniform; so grown up. She really liked her new school and was doing well, and was starting to think that she wanted to be a doctor! I was invited to visit her home for a home visit. It had been a while since I had visited her parents. Her father had been ill and they had been living in a very small building that barely held 2 beds. However, her mother had diligently taken care to “turn” the gift of 2 goats into a cow, showing the family to be very hard working.
We headed into a village center rather than to a farm this time. Annet’s father greeted her with a big smile and invited our group to come and sit down and visit in their home. The modest home had at least 2 small rooms, and he went on to explain that he and Annet’s mother had each raised what was equal to $1000 each to buy this home for $2000. Home ownership is extremely rare. Annet’s parents indeed had been industrious to accomplish this amazing feat. They were so proud of their daughter who was doing so well in secondary school. They were also teaching their daughter that hard work can pay off in their own way. They graciously offered us each a cold soda and a sweet muffin. We accepted not wanting to offend their warm hospitality. They were so pleased to be able to offer something back to us. We prayed to God together holding hands and praising our wonderful God who had brought about this bounty. They then thanked me for sponsoring their daughter and giving her a chance to go to school. To make sure I felt thoroughly thanked, they brought out 2 ducks to give me! We explained that duck was a delicacy in the U.S. which they thought was hilarious.
God took 2 goats, a sponsorship in DCM and elevated an entire family from crushing poverty. The family repaid his gift with hard work and great praises to the God from whom all good things come! How humbling to be able to asked to play a small role in such a miracle. Praise Him!
Mary Cay Koen, DDS, MS