Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Cripple and a Well

We had been playing 
and working
in the hot Gulu sun 
all morning and afternoon,
in Pugwini Village.

Four years earlier,
before the partnership 
with Sportsoutreach Ministry,
Pugwini was desolate.

Now the village
was alive with a fresh water well,
a preschool,
a piggery,
a large field for kids play.
The community was learning to work together,
learning how to farm,
raise pigs,
learning about the love of Christ.
Aloysius-- their teacher.

Now it was time to visit Amuro Village.
A place deep in the bush,
desolate and struggling.

A picture of a former Pugwini.

We boarded the bus 
and waited in the sweltering heat
when the doors flew open 
and a crippled man
labored slowly up the steps
crawling into the empty seat next to me.

He smelled of urine and body odor.
Why was he on the bus? 
I wondered.

Sam, one of our SOM Ugandan Staff,
turned to me and asked if I was comfortable.
"Yes, I'm fine" I answered.

We took off again
and the cripple turned to me and said,
"I am so glad you are here.
My name is Francis."
"I'm so happy to be here," I replied.
"My name is April."
I was curious.
Why was he on the bus with us?

We chatted a little and I discovered
he'd been crippled since birth.
He didn't have a job.
But he loved to share the gospel.
I wondered if he knew about Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped,
a place I had toured,
a place for people like Francis,
the place where our SOM headquarters were located.
Again, I wondered why he was with us.

After an hour of driving,
we arrived at Amuro Village,
a meeting on flattened grass under a mango tree.
The women of the village greeted us with song
and shouts of joy.
They had been waiting for four hours.

As we disembarked, 
I wondered about Francis
and how he would crawl down the stairs
with his flip flops on his hands,
and across the grass.
Where would he sit?

The elders and guests (us) sat in the colorful plastic chairs
placed in a semicircle under the tree.
The elders each stood and spoke,
asking for our help,
begging us to not make promises
and then disappear.

Aloysius stood and explained how SOM was a partnership.
A partnership between Amuro and SOM,
working together,
building together.
SOM was not here just to give
and not expect anything in return.

Then Aloysius went on to share how this partnership came about.
Francis had the dream.
Francis wanted to reach out to the people of Amuro.
Francis, a cripple,
was the one whose heart ached for the people of Amuro.

And the partnership would begin with a well.
Darcy, one of our team, had donated the money for the well.

a cripple,
had grown up at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped.
There he had learned about the love of Christ.
There he had learned there was no limit to what he could do.
a cripple,
who was transforming a bush village
by bringing fresh water
and new life.

1 comment:

Elaine Tourville said...

What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing, April.