Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Africa Has More To Offer Than Just Wild Life...

Africa!  When one thinks of Africa the first thing they might think of is Safari, lions, elephants, Giraffes, or Monkeys. As a little girl I had always wanted to see elephants in the wild, and I knew the place I could accomplish that would be Africa.  I could not imagine seeing such a majestic animal in its own habitat.   This is the way I used to think.  Now that I have been in Africa those thoughts are not what has taken over my brain or my heart. 
Since being in Uganda my thoughts are constantly drifting to the people, especially the children of Uganda.  My children of Mercy Home.  On Saturday I was privileged to visit with the children and bring them gifts and hope from America.  As always when I arrived many children came to greet me before I could even get out of the car.  Those faces how beautiful they are looking up at me pulling at my heartstrings. 
The children unloaded the car which was packed with all the things donated by family and friends from home, plus a few other goodies I had bought here.  I stood back and watched as the children carried all the things to the center of the orphanage.  I could not help but think as I was watching about all my friends and family who participated in this event.  Wishing that I could let each one experience what I was experiencing. 
Before passing out everything I wanted to make sure to give the children a little something to keep with them in their hearts that no one could ever take away.  So I preceeded……. “First of all I love each and every one of you.  I want you to know that all these things did not come from just me, Steven and Alex.  There are many people at home which donated these things to you.  My family and friends took time to invest in you and send you their love.  Love all the way from America!  These family and friends have also donated money so that you could eat and get an education.  These people in America have opened their hearts to all of you to show you there is hope and there is love for you.  They ask that you not give up for they are not giving up on you.”
The children’s faces were full of smiles, some had tears in their eyes while others could just sit quietly dreaming of a better life.
My friends, Susan and Tabu were with me to help me hand out all the things to the children.  We first gave a sack that was filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and a small toy token.  The children were so very happy to get a toothbrush.  They immediately started disappearing so they could go brush their teeth.  Who would have thought that a simple toothbrush could bring such joy.
When it came time to pass out clothes we had the children line themselves up from smallest to largest… what fun this was giving them these things.  The girls were delighted to be handed a new pair of underwear. I imagine this was their first brand new pair of underwear they had ever had.  While the boys were elated to be getting shorts, shirts or one favorite a baseball cap. 
When I thought the giving was finished I was surprised that the children had something to give to me.  The children gathered in front of me and sang and danced for me.  What beautiful voices they have.  I will be returning to Mercy Home so that I can video tape their gift to all of you who participated in giving hope and love to these children.  Stay tuned to have your heartstrings pulled just as mine have been pulled.

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