Below is an excerpt from an e-mail that Paul Moede, the leadership development marketing director for Compassion U.S., sent to his family last week and also shared with his co-worker, Gayle White.
Paul is currently traveling in Uganda.
Today we visited a child survival program deep in a rural area. Sometimes it boggles my mind to see the joy of little kids who see a bus. They run alongside the road waving and laughing. Closest I’ll ever be to a rock star. Unbelievably chaotic roads, traffic that is harrowing and market stalls that defy description. Sides of meat hanging in the sun. . . . fresh fruits and vegetables . . . and people thronging everywhere.
Thought I would tell you about a home visit today with a single mom and three children — and infant and two toddlers. The mom, Sauda, has recently been abandoned by her husband, and has no source of income at all — just a plot of garden from which to feed her family. I could tell you more, such as the day her mud and thatch hut caved in on her from the rain and she had to build a new hut by herself. About 7′ by 12′ for four people.
After we spent time with her, we left gifts for her children as well as a tub and bag of staples. Never in my life have I seen such a response to a gift — joy that she could not contain. She covered her face as she knelt before the food and started to sway back and forth. And then she erupted from the ground, raised her hands and started dancing. Now I’m not talking about subtle. I mean clap your hands, shake your booty, turn and sing at the top of your lungs dancing. And she went on for two minutes. The joy was so contagious all we could do was clap along with her and choke back the tears.
Anyway, all is well. The poverty and chaos is bleak. The infrastructure is rotting away, but the church gets things done.