Reflections from Masese, Bujagali and Rafiki

I have had such diverse experiences the last week that I don't even know how to begin.  I had help with a couple of Bible studies in Bujagali and Masese from the volunteers at Amani Baby Cottage.  These volunteers made me realize the awesome servants that go through Amani.  Amani does not seek out these volunteers but instead:  the volunteers seek out Amani.  They are almost always eager to serve in various settings.  For me, this was an advantage to accomplishing goals with about 300 children in Bujagali and about 200 women in Masese.  The Amani volunteers assisted with the children while I spoke to the women about Hope.  I am so thankful for short term missions and I see daily here the impact that they have on villages.

  I rode with Agatha out to a village to visit the family of a little boy at Amani.  This particular little boy has a mama that wants him back.  She was only 16 years of age when she had him and now at 19, she wants to raise her child with the help of her sisters and mom.  A neighbor took the little boy when he was an infant for a walk and he ended up missing.  When we listened to her story about how scared she was to be persistent in getting him back (she feared that she would be in trouble with the police) we could see that she truly wanted to be the mother that God intended her to be.  Her eyes lit up at the little boy's picture.  I went away from Jinja to spend a week at Rafiki in Wakiso and so I missed the family visit.  The 19 year old mom and her two sisters went to visit the child at Amani and Danyne said that it brought tears to her eyes.  They will visit each week for several weeks before the child is placed back in the village.  This is another story that I am able to witness on the importance of family intervention.
Another day I was able to participate in a Justin Beiber dance - with the Ekisa kids!  Ekisa is a wonderful organization that has a special needs orphanage.  The children not only knew the songs but actually had some moves!  Their joy made my heart smile.  The scripture that is at the front door as you enter the Ekisa home is "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  from Psalm 139: 14.

I am in a village (for the next week) about 40 minutes outside of Kampala called Wakiso visiting a family model orphanage called Rafiki.  As part of my research year, I am trying to learn as much as I can in various settings.   It is a wonderful family model village that houses 8 to 10 children in each home.  There are currently 102 children here and they are no longer taking any new children.  All children here were abandoned and have no family known.  They are no longer orphans because they have a family.  What I love about this organization is that they are teaching the children the Ugandan ways.  Today I helped ( I really just watched) the girls making home-made mats.  This is actually quite impressive.

The children do their own laundry and have Ugandan mamas that make sure they know the ways of the village.  The plan is to integrate them back into the Ugandan culture when they either finish university or finish vocational training.  The youngest child here is 4 years old and the oldest child is 14.  I listened to Carolyn, the director, explain to a visitor why the children will be okay when they go out into Kampala at 18 or 20 ....or maybe even a small village. 

She explained it this way:  Joseph, in the Bible, was prince before he became a slave.  He lived in the most luxurious of all circumstances before he was a slave.  He was even imprisoned and then became the second most powerful man in the world under Pharoah.  While Joseph had different lifestyles, his character never changed.  Rafiki focuses on the character of the child, training and building strong, spiritual character in every child so that nothing can shake them later in life.  That seems to be a pretty perfect focus.

"He hears the cries of the orphan."  
Exodus 22:  22 

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22: 6