Uganda, Africa. Wakisi Village.
Hadija is 12 years old. When I visited her home in the village here is what I found:
Hadija is in Primary 5th grade. Her parents died ten years ago, HIV infected. She is cared for today by her grandmother. I asked her grandmother, Theresa, how old she was. She had no idea. When life is a struggle, there is little thought on celebrating another year. The focus is on one day at a time.
Theresa is also taking care of a little girl 3 or 4 years old from the community. This little girl has been neglected by her mother and Theresa could not stand by and do nothing. Yet Theresa has almost nothing. As I looked around the small home, I noticed 3 other children in the immediate vicinity; Theresa was also feeding them and watching after them. Two children under her constant care and 3 during the day.
Culturally the family of the father will assume the responsibility for an orphan. Hadija’s father’s family lives in another village and transportation and contact is a challenge. Theresa, when she has the strength, will work in a neighbor’s field in order to earn a little money for food to feed these two girls and the other children she may be helping through the day. I asked her what does she do when she is unable to work or when there is no work. She told me that Hadija’s uncle would bring some rice and beans for the two of them. I then asked when was the last time that he had made a food drop. It had been over 3 weeks and she was basically out of food for her and the children and had no idea when he may be bringing food again for them.
My next question to Theresa was in regards to her family, what happened to her husband. This story was sad enough already when set against the kindness of this lady and magnitude of her heart for these children, but she shared with me that her husband is still alive. But as she is aging her husband told her that he did not want her around anymore and he kicked her out of their home.
She is alone. She took in an orphan. She welcomed an abandoned child. She feeds the unattended and neglected children near her home, and yet she has nothing. Someday Hadija wants to go to college. She wants to have a business and take care of others. I asked Hadija what she likes to do when she is not working in the field. She told me that she loves to read. I asked her if she would read for me. She eagerly grabbed her only book, a Bible and she read to me. Her smile, and the expression in her voice did not match the bleak setting and circumstances of her life.
This is why Reach Youth Global is in Uganda. This is why we need your help. Supporting, giving, sponsoring, partnering with Reach Youth Global results in transforming lives. Those transformed lives are transforming families. Families being transformed is resulting in villages and communities being transformed.
We are thrilled that Hadija is a part of Reach Youth Global’s care in Uganda, but meeting Theresa further illustrated the reality of what your support for this project is doing. A grandmother who cares for her granddaughter and wants the very best for her is able to see her granddaughter’s dreams, of one day having a college education and being a business owner, begin to be a real possibility. She is not alone. She has not been abandoned. Caring for Hadija is also caring for Theresa. Caring for Theresa is caring for others also.