-Or some are serving time for a crime they committed
-Or for some, their exasperated parents aren’t willing to care for them anymore. So the parents bring the child to Kampiringisa.
The intention of Kampiringisa was to rehabilitate street children. However, there’s not much rehabilitating going on. The children just exist there….not even enrolled in a form of education. They’re not offered much hope. Yes, it’s better than street life; however, no child should have to live in a place like this.
Each individual here has a unique story, but they have something in common: they’re lacking love. My heart breaks at this reality. At first, I was concerned about their poor hygiene (many of the kids are filthy, and they wear clothing that hangs off their bodies.) And I was concerned about the fact that they’re lacking medical care for their illnesses and diseases. And I was concerned about the fact that they’re sitting on the dirty ground, eating a “meal” of liquid porridge.
But then it hit me.
You can still survive and grow without clean clothing. You can survive and grow without great medical care. You can survive and grow without gourmet food.
But can you REALLY survive and grow without love? Without someone to pick you up when you fall. Without someone to hold you close and whisper, “I’ll always be here for you, darling.” Without someone to run to when life seems too much to handle.
I spent the day loving on these beautiful children: handing out stickers (they were ecstatic about such a simple thing!) and also administering de-worming pills to many of the children. I went with several Dwelling Places’ staff who give medical care to the kids at Kampiringisa twice a month. A missionary doctor from Ireland was here, so he helped us out as well.
One little girl in particular captured my heart. I asked around for her name but no one could provide me with an answer. So I’m calling her “Hope,” because I have hope that God will send her someone to permanently love her. She can’t be older than 4….she was living on the streets until she came to Kampiringisa a month ago. I don’t know what her future holds, but I pray for safety and God’s grace.
When I met Hope, her somber eyes were filled with sadness. Diana and I attempted to make her smile. Over and over we tried, but Hope wouldn’t budge, a solemn look stayed on her face. I almost can’t blame her. What does she have to smile about? Hope cracked a faint smile during Diana's silly faces.
I picked her up and snapped a photo of us together, showing it to her on the camera screen. After a moment or so, a smile danced across her mouth.
I was determined to show her Christ’s love, if only for an afternoon. When was the last time she felt loving arms embrace her? As I cradled her in my arms, she began to doze off. I could have held her for hours and hours, but I eventually had to head home. I blinked back tears as I placed Hope on the ground and waved goodbye to her, trying to ignore the fact that tears were welling up in her eyes. Yet another person walking out of her life.
It’s an incredibly helpless feeling to witness children living like this but not be able to immediately do something except pray. I am so thankful for Dwelling Places and their endurance as they continue rescuing children from the streets of Kampala.
You’ve just read about the lives of thousands of children here in Uganda. I’m asking, “does anybody care?” Please don’t forget these children. Pray for them. Or even consider sponsoring a former street child through an organization like Dwelling Places (contact me, and I can hook you up.)
As I type this, encouraging Phil Wickham lyrics play in the background.
“Jesus, Your love has no bounds. Your love is deeper than any ocean. Higher than the heavens. Reaches beyond the stars in the sky. Your love has no bounds.”
Tonight I pray that His love reaches especially to these hurting children. His love has no bounds, and for that I am grateful.