Charlene and I arrived in Uganda just over a week ago to work with Rev Life for a year. As we drove away from the airport in Entebbe, Charlene and I both felt a real sense of God’s peace that this was his place for us. We have already experienced so much from the madness of Kampala traffic to the fruit from the roadside stalls.
We have also had our first experience of life in the slums visiting two different communities so far. I still am struggling to come to terms with what I have seen. I really don’t think anything fully prepares you, even if you have been thinking and planning for months. The smell; the dirt, the tiny rooms families try to live in; the obvious desperation of some of the people you meet. It is quite simply overwhelming. Yet somehow in a strange way it can be easy to overlook this when you meet the many children all excited and happy to see you. Their joy and smiling faces seems at odds with the reality that they live in day to day. Of course it cannot always be like this and in many ways their response is a testimony to the ongoing work and relationships that Revelation Life have developed with these communities.
Today we visited Kasubi Slum and went to see a Mama who has two of her children sponsored by RL to go to school. She lives in a small room no bigger than 3×2 metres with her husband and 6 children. It was difficult to even imagine where the space was for them all to sleep. However once there we were given something to eat. What generosity from a family with so little. It was so moving and humbling. The dignity and love that so many of these families have, despite their situations, is unbelievable and a real challenge to me.
It is all still quite daunting, especially things like learning the language and having the wisdom to know how to help, but we continue to trust that God is our strength. Charlene and I have both been reflecting on Psalm 84 since we arrived here. It starts “How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty”. This is the attitude of the team we have joined. There is a real desire and intention for God’s presence, to be close to him. After all nothing is impossible for God – it is through his strength and power that we can see difficult situations (like some of the families living within the slums) change.