Last year we had a presentation at our church from Compassion International. Karen and I decided that we would sponsor a child together and looked for one from Uganda. We picked out a little boy named Julius and have been supporting him for almost a year now. When we were planning this year's trip to Uganda, we decided to see if we could hook up to meet him. As it turned out, Julius lives in Jinja, right where we were staying! There was a lot of red tape involved in scheduling our visit, and it took weeks to get it approved - good thing we started early.
On the first Saturday of our trip, we got a ride out to the local Compassion headdquarters located in Jinja. We met with the administrator and found out what the program was all about. Basically, the money we send covers Julius's school fees, uniform, medical care, and each Saturday at the Compassion site. There they receive breakfast and lunch, health screenings, and classes in spiritual growth, hygiene, physical fitness, trade skills, additional academics, and some kind of emotional support. What I found most encouraging was the fact that the director (Patrick) was a Compassion child himself, and that's how he survived.
We met our boy Julius and were given an introduction to the assembly of students that morning.
After that, we got to go out to visit Julius's home.
This was the best part of the trip. Even though his home was a hovel from the outside, and the walls were made of cardboard on the inside, his mother had it neat and clean, and decorated nicely. The home was very dark inside because there are no windows. It only looks bright because of the flash.
She had prepared food for us, which I'm sure cost her dearly. She had Coke (something given for very special guests), biscuits (cookies), bananas, and hard boiled eggs.
Last year Karen and I sent a little extra money on Julius's birthday, and with part of that money, they bought a chicken. The mother told us that these eggs were from the chicken that we had helped to provide!
The mother was very gracious and hospitable and we also got to meet the brothers and sisters. I think the father was working that day as he was a boda boda driver (motorcycle taxi).
Our little boy Julius is very industrious it seems. Here is a little car that he made out of an oil can. Of course, little brother had to put his toy car in the picture too!
After our visit, Julius drove with us back to the hotel and visited for a little longer, and then he went back to the compassion center for the rest of the day. We were very blessed by our visit.