Those who suffer.

This is C. She is 17 years old and lives at M. Today, I met
this beautiful teenager with big brown eyes. She was drinking porridge for lunch
when I came and sat beside her. She spoke English very well and told me she
would take me to see the girl’s dormitory. As we were walking, I saw large
wounds on her arm that were dried with blood and dirt and she told me she was pushed into the door. I took her to see the Sixty Feet nurses, Lucy and Jessica, and
she came and found me after they cleaned her arm. She smiled and laughed as she
watched me attempt to play volleyball with the boys. Later as we were walking
to the girl’s dormitory, we passed other girls who pointed at her arm and
laughed, even smacking her in the head once. I asked why the girls are
mean to her and she told me that another girl pushed her into the door and was
“beating” her because she didn’t want to clean. She first came to M a year and
a half ago. Her parents dropped her off here because she was sneaking out at
night without permission and going to the clubs. Her parents brought her home a
week ago then returned her to M only days later for “being stubborn” and told
her they would come back in 5 months. She is a beautiful, smart girl, who
desperately wants to go to school. She has made mistakes but what teenager didn’t break a few of their parents rules? She deserves a better life, one outside of M. She deserves to have a future, one not filled with despair. She only smiles when laughing at my horrible
attempts to speak Luganda. She has a tough
exterior. She doesn’t show fear or sadness in front of her mockers but once
alone her eyes are sad and she turns quiet. She says, “Jesus is my only
friend.”  C is 17 years old and lives at M and I hope one day she will call me friend.
“Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. For He who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.” Psalm 9:11-12
Advertisements

Day One.

For those of you don’t know what I am actually doing here in Uganda, I am working for a ministry called Sixty Feet that was founded over a year ago. Sixty Feet was founded after discovering a child prison in Uganda, hearing the calling of God to act and responding. The “prisons” were first set up as a rehabilitation center or teenage boys who have committed crimes. With an overwhelming number of orphans and abandoned children roaming the streets of Kampala, street children have been sent to live in these “prisons.” So along with troubled teenage boys living at the centers there are hundreds of street children. Some of them orphaned, others abandoned by their families, some dropped off at M1 because their parents no longer want or can take care of them and some children have a family but were picked up for begging. For security reasons the prisons have been labeled M1, M2, M3, etc.. and names of children have been changed. As of right now there are 310 children at M1 and only 21 of them are girls. Since Sixty Feet has been founded, 6 more child prisons or “remand centers” have been found. Sixty Feet’s desire is to bring hope and restoration to the imprisoned children of Uganda in Jesus’ name. Check out their website to learn more about what Sixty Feet has done over the last year and the goals for the future.
Today was our first day visiting the children at M1. Let me start by saying, I have seen many pictures, I’ve heard the stories, and seen the documentary but when we pulled up in front of M1, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.
I’m not sure how to describe the feelings that I experienced/am experiencing but I will do my best. Upon pulling up to M1, I started to cry immediately. It was heartbreaking to see and still shocking but mixed with a “I’m finally here. This is what I’ve been waiting for for 8 months.” feeling. So I wiped my eyes before going in and Moses gave us a tour of the facility.
The cells where children are kept for weeks for behavioral problems like not doing the dishes, talking back, etc…
The sleeping quarters where children are locked in at night.
Then it was time for worship with the children. The Sixty Feet team, Moses, Fred, Betty, Jessica and Lucy (and now us!!) go every Monday and Wednesday to M and have an hour of worship, prayer, and the gospel. The children jumped, danced, sang and laughed. I watched the tears streamed down their faces as they prayed on their knees crying out to God. (Believe me they were streaming down my face too.) I no longer felt angry or heartbroken, I felt God. I saw hope in the midst of darkness.
Fred, the counselor, and Betty and Lucy, the nurses, started to treat the children and the kids lined the halls waiting to be seen. Unfortunately, we only could spend a couple hours there today but I am so excited to go back on Wednesday and see their smiling faces again. Tomorrow we continue on to another prison that is upcountry and in worse conditions than M1.
Also check out Kelsey’s blog for more and better pictures!!!

We’re here!!

Hello from Uganda!!
Kelsey and I arrived Saturday afternoon and were greeted
with big smiles from the Sixty Feet team, Moses and Fred; and Edward, a Sixty
Feet partner from Mississippi. We left Entebbe Airport and headed for our new
home, Kampala. Kampala looks just like you would imagine, bustling with people,
markets on every corner, cows in the road, bodas (motorcycle taxis) zooming by
barely missing the pedestrians that fill the streets. I was warned about the
traffic in Kampala a few months ago but wow, nothing could prepare you for
Ugandan driving. Rules of the road? Just one. Don’t hit anyone. The roads are
called “parking lots” because you literally just sit in traffic for hours. I
can’t quite figure out when rush hour is because it seems like there is always
traffic! I don’t mind the traffic though because it gives me an opportunity to
nap!!
After lunch with Moses, Edward, and Fred we drove to our new
house. It’s more beautiful than I imagined. We met our new neighbors, Betty who is Moses’ wife, their children, Shadrach
and Meshach, and the five girls from “M” that now live with them. The girls
immediately ran up to us giving us big hugs and helped us carry all 8 bags
inside. We met our housemate, Susie  and the guard, Abraham. Kelsey and I started to unpack and turn the
house into a home. Around 8pm the electricity went out and Betty said, “Welcome
to Africa.” Apparently power outages are a nightly occurrence here. So we
continued to unpack and shower by candlelight. Luckily, it came back on while
we were sleeping.
Sunday, we went to church at Bwerenga Bible Church near Lake
Victoria. I met the famous Pastor Ernest and Mama Catherine whom I’ve heard so
much about. I had to hold back the tears as I hugged Mama Catherine. She is
truly an amazing woman. I sat in the young Sunday school class that Mama
Catherine taught and the lovely Julia translated for me. The children were
learning about Heaven and Hell. Mama Catherine asked the children what was in
Heaven. Their answers were: pineapples, bicycles, cars, swings, Jesus, food.
She asked them what Hell was like and their answers were: big lions, frogs,
snakes, and more frogs. Then it was time for worship. What to say about
worship? If you’ve been lucky enough to experience true African worship, you
know what I mean; men, women, and children fully rejoicing, dancing, jumping,
singing, screaming, praying, i-yi-yi-yi-ing, and just praising the Lord with
their whole heart. The church is in a small village with wooden or metal shacks
for houses, what we would consider third-world poverty. Yet, they still
rejoice, thanking God for all they’ve been given. Two hours later church was
over and Mama Catherine and Pastor Ernest invited us to their home for lunch
and fellowship. Mama Catherine and Pastor Ernest have 9 orphaned/abandoned
children living with them and they call them all their own. Yet still, Pastor
Ernest asked us to find him two more children from the prisons because there is
room in his house. With already 11 mouths to feed, they gladly welcomed us into
their home and fed us a home-cooked Ugandan meal, beans, beef, and crepe-like
bread.
Moses is teaching Kelsey and I to be true Ugandans. First
lesson was the currency. Second lesson was the language, which is WAY harder
than I thought it would be. Third, is driving in Kampala.
Today is our first day going to the prisons. I’ll be honest
and say that I’m a little bit nervous. I’ve seen the videos and the pictures
and I’ve heard the stories, but I’m afraid to see it firsthand. I’m afraid that my heart is going to
break into a million pieces. I’m afraid that I’m going to burst into tears as
soon as I walk into the prison and see their living conditions. Both of these
things are probably going to happen. I’ll probably cry the whole way home and
my heart will probably break into a million pieces but I am confident that I
will see God working at M. I’m so thrilled to meet the children and see their
smiles. I will love on every child that I can wrap my arms around today. I will
squeeze them until they know that they are loved.
This is getting super long but I hope I can update soon. We
have no Internet right now, we have to go to café’s and use their wifi but
hopefully we will have Internet at the house soon and I can update often. Thank
you for all your prayers. They are definitely needed today.
xoxo Kirby

20 hours and counting…

WE LEAVE TOMORROW!! So how would you spend your last night in town before moving to Africa?? Celebrating? Eating at your favorite restaurant with all your loved ones??

I bet you can’t guess what this girl is doing on her last night in town…..

MY TAXES!!

That’s right…I’m doing my taxes. Yes, they were due in April but I am a HUGE procrastinator so, of course, I waited until April 15th to file mine. Then, I found out they weren’t due till the 18th so I procrastinated some more! Then, just a couple hours before the deadline, I can’t find my W2!

Have you ever put something in a special place so you won’t lose it and then forget where you put it? So have I. So like every other procrastinating American, I filed an extension.

And once again, my procrastinating ways have caught up with me and I waited until my last night to do my taxes. And now I’m procrastinating by writing this blog. My mom used to have this really annoying saying, “Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Luckily, she hasn’t said that tonight. She is being much more gracious and helping me pack. Yep, I’m not packed yet either!!!! I’d say 50% is in the suitcases. The other 50% is strewn across the living room. See below….

Sorry it’s so blurry, it is from my non-smart phone camera!

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad. We cooked dinner at home and popped in a chick flick to watch as we pack! I’ll celebrate with all my loved ones tomorrow when the packing is finished and my living room doesn’t look like a crime scene. So good night, it’s time to get busy!