The slums are red and brown, dirt and trash. But every trip to Uganda begins there. Sadly, we see no stem in the tide of children who raise themselves on the streets. They quench hunger with drugs. They stay alive by being cut-throat. A team of young Ugandan men, led by Patrick, stand before 40 boys and tell them that another life is possible. I would never dare to say as much. But these young Ugandan men know the slums first hand. They have come from them, and they know that better days could be ahead.
St. Lawrence is a secondary school outside of Kampala. It is lush, bright green with purple flowers weighed down by drops of rain. The school is one of the best in the area. It is laid out on tiers ascending to the main administration building. Sarah, Annika, and I wait to meet Hannifah at the top.
In 2010, we met Hannifah. She was in 5th grade. Gaunt, and out of school like all of the kids we met, she was closer to the slums than she was to St. Lawrence. Since the beginning, Annika and her parents have been sponsoring Hannifah. Eight years later, Hannifah is about to finish her secondary education at one the finest schools in Uganda. She is one class away from being eligible for a government sponsorship that will help her attend university.
I was already tearing up when Hannifah finally reached us at the top of the hill. She smiled and gave me a hug. “Hannifah,” I said, “look at where you are!”
“I didn’t know this was possible,” she said looking out at St. Lawrence.
It was one of the many moments from my trip that gave me hope and reminded me why we do what we do. In the slums, it is hard to imagine any other future. Through Beautiful Response, I get to be a part of creating realities that do not seem possible.
The kids at RUHU can all testify to the same truth. Your current circumstances don't determine where you’ll go. Not all of the kids will end up at St. Lawrence like Hannifah. Some are struggling in school. Others are starting at trade schools like Francis (pictured below). All are being given the opportunity to study at good schools and, more importantly, receiving the love of a family who cares uniquely and particularly for them.
Thank you to everyone who continues to make new realities possible in Uganda. The kids send their greetings! They say they love you so much and they want to know what you are coming to Uganda. We appreciate all of your support so very much. Your dollars and prayers are accomplishing an amazing work! Praise be to God!