Saturday, August 15, 2015

Step Into My World: Western Uganda

Today, we travel back to Uganda, this time to Compassion's western region. This region includes the cities that are very near the Rwandan border. Many of the children that Compassion's serves in this area are  related to the horrible Rwandan genocide that happened in 1994. While all of the children in Compassion's program are too young to have been directly involved, several of their family members were. There is a good chance that parents and grandparents in this region of Uganda, especially in the city of Kisoro, fled from Rwanda to Uganda's border during the genocide crisis and then gave birth to children in Uganda.

I have two children in this region, both who live in Kisoro:

Eric & Brenda 

Here is a map of Uganda. You can see the city of Kisoro in red writing. There are other cities in this region that Compassion works in, but they are not labeled on this map. 

Villages in this region are very rural and often their city center is made up of a couple of buildings. Transportation like cars, buses, or motorcycles are rare. Most people travel by walking or by bicycle. 

Families in this region are devastatingly poor. In the communities where my two children live, families earn $6 and $7 A MONTH. I don't know about you, but I cant even wrap my head around that. That is something that we in the United States can't even fathom. We couldn't even raise our families on $7 a day, let alone an entire month. Obviously, with these meager incomes, families can't afford even the most basic of necessities. Homes are shacks in shambles, families rely on gardens to completely feed them, running water and electricity are not even close to possible. Proper clothing, well-fitting shoes, good education, even furniture is well beyond the dreams of the families living here. 

Due to lack of running water, women often spend hours a day walking back and forth to a water source to gather water for their families, often miles away. One trip is made, the water is used, another trip is made, the water is used, etc, etc, everyday. Also, this water is unclean and causes many waterborne diseases in the people living here. 

I cannot be more happy that Compassion is intervening on behalf of the children in Uganda's western region. Compassion creates a safe place for children to play, learn, have their needs met, and learn about God. It's truly a light in the darkness for these children. Look at those happy kids! 

Every child gets one-on-one attention from a tutor, to meet their specific needs. This goes from the oldest young men and women to the tiniest little peanuts just learning to hold their pencils. 

Due to low wages, one of this area's biggest problems is malnutrition, most families living on only rice and vegetables. Compassion registered children receive a healthy meal every time they attend the project. 

Compassion is truly changing lives in Uganda. Through my two children, I have seen them go from uninterested students, to young people with goals and aspirations for their future. I have seen them go from shy preteens to confident teenagers who have a solid identity in Christ. It's truly been miraculous. 

The projects in this region have the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that children will grow in their knowledge of Christ and in their desire to serve him. 

- Pray that children will embrace the life lessons they learn from Compassion and make good decisions for their healthy development. 

- Pray for the families of assisted children, that they may be empowered in parenting skills and income-generation activities so that their children can thrive. 

- Pray for Compassion center workers, that they will maintain their dedication to serving the children in their care. 

I have two boys to share with you, one little one and one big one. They both live in Western Uganda and they are both waiting for a sponsor. 

Junior has been sponsored! 

Meet Abiyola. He is 17 years old. He lives with his parents and 3 siblings. His chores at home include carrying water, gathering firewood, and teaching others. For fun, he enjoys soccer, singing, and telling stories. He is in high school and has average performance. 

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