If you have ever been to a third world country
you have witnessed poverty.
The overwhelming fact of the matter is there isn’t any food, people are trying to survive and can barely pay for their one room home in the slum community. Showers are not expected and clothes have holes everywhere. Shoes are not always worn and if they are they might be two left shoes. Sickness, malnutrition and untreated wounds are probable and behavior is unpredictable.
If I could write down a very detailed description of this so you could feel it and connect, I would, but it is so hard unless you see it with your own eyes. But whether you fully understand or not it doesn’t matter. It exists.
Doors was founded on seeing a need within the street kid communities and becoming driven to meet those needs. (Here is the video of their story if you want to hear it form the beginning.) So in Katwe DOORS staff and volunteers come on Mondays and Wednesdays to spend time with the kids and help fill some needs.
A normal day was meeting at the elephant statue, walking in with another volunteer and watching as the kids recognize those volunteers who consistently show up week after week. They run up to them with joy in their faces and kneel as a sign of respect and shake hands excited for this time. Dependent on the day, it starts, probably late, and games are played and worship is sung. A message is shared and pages are colored. Dependent on what is available sometimes other activities are included, Chapatis and clean water are offered, and prayer is weaved in.
I wish I could tell you that God used me to change someones entire life but the fact is I didn’t. I prayed for them, I hope I inspired them, I hope I watered one seed just a little bit before I left. These volunteers though, they show up. Again and again. They meet the families, they do home visits, attend to emergencies and they believe in these kids. They discipline and they drive them forward towards progress.
While I was in Uganda I talked a lot with people who are in full time ministry there and something that is interesting is the opinions on short term trips. It is true that Americans who travel somewhere typically have a mentality that they are going to change something in the world. That maybe they can make a difference & they can. But in reality a good term to describe these short term trips is “vision trips”. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Peoples lives aren’t fixed overnight. Not all needs are filled in one afternoon. People forget, lose focus, become hungry again. But short term teams & trips are necessary. You know why? Because people need to see the needs to connect. People need to see what other people live like for some insight. People need to go home and talk about it.
So that was my takeaway from the kids who love openly, sometimes wanting something, but almost always grateful. People need to witness the truth of the world but also the people willing to do something to change it because that causes action & action is used by God to create something beautiful.