The Boys From Rainy Kisenyi

I remember the first time Patrick took me into Kisenyi. I had been into city slums many times before, but there was something about the intimacy of Patrick's presence in that slum which made it a difficult experience. We weren't visiting street children, I was being invited into Patrick's home. The kids know him as father, and he feels the obligation of family to them.It rained that first time, and I wanted to leave as quickly as I could. It was chaotic and overwhelming.

On our second and third trips to Uganda, some of the kids that we had met in Kisenyi were living in a house, a ten minutes walk from the orphanage. The house was an improvement from the slum. But rent was expensive. The neighbors complained about the rowdy house of unruly street kids. It was an unsustainable solution.

On our fourth and fifth trips to Uganda, the Kisenyi boys were still living in the overwhelmed house near the orphanage. But there was also a new plot of land, about thirty minutes away. The land was a vision for a different future. Some of the boys lived out there. Some of the boys were going to school for the first time.

On the sixth trip to Uganda, the group that I met in rainy Kisenyi, who had lived in the overwhelmed house for three years, who had gone back and forth between slum and house and village, were in school. We visited the school and I met with the Head Mistress of the school. "They are ok," she told me, trying to be polite. "But they are a bit difficult?" I asked, trying to encourage her to be frank with me. "There are some difficulties, because they have not been in school for very long."

On the most recent trip to Uganda, we visited the school once again. I walked into the Head Mistress's office and asked how the kids had been performing and behaving. "They have made so many strides!" She was proud, both of her school and of the kids. "Some of these boys are really performing so well. We have even made some of them prefects. When they first came," she rolled her eyes and hung her head to conclude the thought, "But now. They are performing so well!"

Five of the RUHU boys had been prefects of their class. I was floored. I leaned back in my chair and shook my head in disbelief. I laughed under my breath and looked over at Patrick who was standing in the doorway and William, seated across the room. William smiled, proud. I think they were also shocked.

After meeting with the Head Mistress, we gathered all of the boys and told them how proud we were of them. William singled the prefects out and gushed over them. He embarrassed them like a good father who can't help himself.

The story of those boys from Kisenyi will never be told as well as it should be. What those boys have overcome in just the last six years is staggering. They have done so much with so little.

We were not really planning on these boys excelling in school. But we weren't really planning on most of what has happened in Uganda. To keep sending them to school, we need about a dozen new sponsors. Support these boys by giving monthly at the $20, $40, or $80 per month level. You can give by following this link. Put "Kisenyi" in the comment box and your gift will go towards these boys' education.