Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Friend Tabu

Traffic is so bad here in Uganda that we have had to hire a driver to take us where we need to go.  Fortunately for Alex and I we have found our dear friend Tabu.  Tabu is a tall thin 62 year old man who has the most beautiful wife, Prossy, and fifteen children.  Not all fifteen children are really his, but he and Prossy can not turn a needy homeless child away from their door.  Maybe this is why Alex and I adore Tabu so much, because he and Prossy have such big hearts.
Whenever Alex and I need to go somewhere we call Tabu and he comes to take us.  This seems pretty simple except for the fact that Tabu lives on the other side of town.  In order to come take us where we need to go Tabu has to walk to where he can find a boda boda (motor cycle) to carry him through the busy streets of Kampala.  Again this does not seem like a big deal, but trust me it is.  I would not be stretching it to say Tabu takes his life in his hands every time he gets on that boda boda to come to us.  Of course we try to make it easy on him by scheduling him a head of time.
At first when Steven told me we were going to have a driver I was less than enthused about the idea.  I did not want to be treated like some stuffy American.  I also did not know what on earth I was going to talk to this man about during our trips.  Well fortunately for me Tabu has plenty to talk about.  You see Tabu loves to tell stories.  He reminds me a lot of my daddy who also likes to tell stories.  Maybe this is another reason I feel so close and comfortable with Tabu.
Tabu has told us many of his stories some involving body parts falling from airplanes, some about his courageous efforts to survive the hardships that Uganda has faced over the years, and some about how he loves visiting his daughter in Denmark and how he is very proud of his children, ALL of them.
So as we travel the streets of Kampala and fight the hectic traffic, Alex and I feel safe and comfortable having our dear friend Tabu behind the wheel.  Thank you Tabu for everything, but most of all thank you for your friendship and care. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Will Happen When We Are Gone?

As I lay down to rest from a very emotional day at the orphanage my mind continues to keeps going.  I lay there thinking of the children I left behind.  My son Alex comes in to check on me and decides to lay down beside me and talk with me.  He asked me a question that has lingered with now for hours.  “Mom, what will happen to the children at the orphanage when we leave?”  WOW!  What will happen to them?
On Tuesday when we arrived we brought our usual large bag of beans.  That day we had also brought hand soap, dish soap, bleach, a broom, a large wooden spoon, and two basketballs.  As we got out of the car the children came running.  They knew that we had not come without bringing something, but even if we had they would have greeted us with the love they always do.  Many hugs were shared and then we opened the trunk to share all our items.  You cannot image the little and big faces when they see a huge bag of beans appear.  They know that they will eat that day.
Moses one of the older boys that tries to take care of things pulled me aside and with tears in his eyes (as always) says “mom thank you for the beans, we did not know what we were going to eat today.”  You see the children only had about 10 pounds of corn flour left.  They were going to pour this corn flour into water and give every child a cup to drink.  That was going to be their food for today.  This would mean that they would not eat until someone brought them more food or until some of them go out and beg for something to eat.  Worse yet dig through the garbage in the small town to see if there are any scraps of food left behind.  So I had 53,000 shillings left in my pocket (about 20.00 us dollars) I gave moses the money and told him to go to town and buy a 50lb bag of corn flour and bring it back.  (50,000 for the corn flour and 3,000 for the motorcycle to carry him and the flour back.)  This one bag of corn flour and the beans will feed the children for about one week.  A total cost for beans and flour of about 30.00 us dollars.
This is normal life for these children.  No education, no food, no love, and very little hope.  How on earth can this happen?  My heart is so very heavy.
I can not help but think again about Alex’s question to me, what will happen to these children when we leave?  What will happen to Stella who follows me around all day and wants to always give me hugs, Stella wants to go to schoo,l but yet there is no money to send her, she thinks she is 15, but she is not sure because her parents died when she was smaller and she lived with her elderly grandmother up until about three weeks ago.  Stella tells me every time we are there.  “mom, can I go with you?, mom, I want to go to school, mom can you take me with you please?”  Again, my heart is heavy.
Then there is little Bridgette, BabaZ, Brenda and Wren.  Bridgette is about three years old, BabaZ and Brenda are about five to seven years old and Wren I think he is twelve years old.   All these children have absolutely no one, and the sad thing is there are so many more in the same situation.  So what will happen to these small ones when we leave?  I can ‘t bare the thought.  I have to find a way to get them food and an education even after I am gone………… but how????? 
I need to answer Alex’s question, so with tear filled eyes we lay on the bed and I tell him I am not sure what will happen to them.  Some of the small ones who are little will probably die of hunger, or of sickness, while some of the older ones will probably have to resort to begging and digging through trash for their food.  None the less the future does not look very bright for any of them, unless another person steps in.  Alex and I lay there and cry.