Today I met Doreen. I met about 160 kids, but Doreen has a piece of my heart. She's 16 years old, and she's in prison. We spent quite a bit of time together today (she attached herself to me for a good part of the time we were there.) She's a really bright girl. Her English was awesome, and she can read. She wants desperately to go back to school. She'd like to be a lawyer. She's been at this remand center for 2 months. She told me that tomorrow she may get to go to court (that's the way things go around here.) She said she will probably be released. To the streets. She has nowhere to go. That sweet girl... the one I was snuggled up with on a bench just a couple hours ago, will be homeless. That breaks my heart. There were many heartbreaking stories today. There will be many more.
The kids had a blast today and we did too! We sang and danced and played with balls and balloons. We even had a few Twister games going on. I'm having a horrible time uploading pictures. This internet connection is not very good. I have so many pictures I want to show all of you!
I'd better get back to the group now. We are still trying to sort the donations we brought with us. Tomorrow we will go to another children's prison and then to a school/orphange. It will be a full day starting very early. I'll try to update again when I can.
I only have a minute. I haven't been here very long, and I don't have any idea how to process what I've seen already. It is different here. Very different. Hard. This is a hard place.
I have a few pictures from our drive from the airport to the guest house yesterday.
I'm having trouble uploading pictures on this internet connection.
Last night we drove for three hours traveling very few miles. The traffic is horrendous. Unbelievable, really. When you aren't going very fast, it's easy to notice all of the little children begging on the side of the street. Many people walking over and around them. A little boy of maybe 4 or 5 caught sight of us in our van. He was pleading with us to give him something. The traffic moved and so did our driver. I had gotten some food out of my purse. We looked back and he was following us. Where were his parents? We got the window open and handed him a package of peanut butter crackers and some kind of peanut bar. He ran away tearing into the packages with his teeth.
This is heart-breaking.
In a few minutes we are off to a prison. A children's prison.
There are only 10 days left until I leave. TEN days. I feel like there is so much to do. I need to pack my clothes, but some of them I have to wear for the next 10 days. I think I'm finished with vaccinations. The CDC recommends another MMR booster. The WHO does not. I think I like the World Heath Organization best. I could probably use a polio vaccine, but so far I've been injected 7 times and I think I'm just done. I hate shots. Especially the ones that make you feel bad.
You all have just been incredible with the whole donation thing. We have more than we can take on this trip. I feel sure that I will come back planning for my next trip, so no need to worry that what you have donated won't make it to Uganda/Kenya. Last week I had a lady at work ask if there was anything else I felt I needed to take with me that she might be able to help with. The only thing I could think of at the moment was toothbrushes (Doneva and I had talked about wanting some toothbrushes the night before.) She said that she goes to church with her daughter's dentist and would ask her if she could possibly donate a few toothbrushes for me to take with me. Her amazing dentist, Dr. Clark, donated 450 kids toothbrushes and 240 tubes of toothpaste. What a blessing! I have shipped books to several other states so that others on our team can fill their suitcases. We have been given so many shoes and clothes. It has been awesome to see God work all of this out. I still need 18 more 4 oz bottles of school glue. I'm completely out of money but have no doubt that someone will come through with the glue.
I cannot wait to be in the big middle of these children. In just 2 and a half weeks, we will get to spend the day with Katie Davis and her 400 sponsored children of Amazima. I'm so excited to see all of the ministries we will be working with. Some really incredible people God is using to do His work in Uganda and Kenya. I'm excited to meet them.
Please pray that our team will be exactly what we need to be for these children we will be working with. I don't want to let the hot, the no electricity, the no hair dryer :-), strange food, and whatever else I'm not used to get in the way of what I'm there to do. I really don't think it will. I'm ready to work. I'm ready to serve. I'm ready to LOVE babies. Sweet, sweet children that don't have families and some that do but struggle desperately to survive. Thank you God for sending ME. Little me that surely cannot make a difference. Oh but I can. I already have, and I'm going to over and over again.
Thank you all for your prayers. Thank you for caring and for sending me with your love and support.