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!!!