Hello Journey followers! The good news is you get a blog, the not so good news; it's not from Katie. This is PAPA, formerly known as Scott and Dad. Katie's girlsasked what she called her grandfather and she said PAPA, so guess what? PAPA it is, and I must say after spending the week with these 13 beautiful girls,I hope I am their PAPA forever.
If you are looking to read an unbiased story about Katie, you should probably not go on. The Dad in me just can't be unbiased, especially after what I've seen and expereincedthis week. What I want to tell each of you is THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Each of you through your prayers, donations, words of encouragement, etcmake a difference EVERY DAY! Yes, it is physically through Katie as she touches these people, but Amazima is not possible without you. What I can assure you is; it's not just one life you touch every day, it is literally hundreds. Allow me to share with you a week in the life of Katie as seen through the eyes of herearthly father.
To set the stage realize that I brought Katie to Uganda in 2007 as a 18 year old. I left her at the baby cottage which certainly was a safe haven with other North Americanvolunteers. While hard to part with her I had a sense of her safety. Of course I didn't realize that in a very short time she would venture out from the safety of the baby cottage to the village of Canaan where the real life of Amzima began.
Brad and I arrived Friday near midnight to Kate's house in Bukaya. I don't know what I expected, but I can tell you this; there is not much I'm going to complainabout from this point forward! At 6:00am Saturday the first child came through the gate for worship, play and food. Over the next few hours over 300 children filled Katie's small yard, first greeted with a single boiled egg (you ever seen 350 boiled eggs in a pot?). Then play and worship led by Katie and Raoul, a terrific young man giftedwith beutiful music and words. This was followed by lunch where all 300+ children formed and orderly line to be served rice, beans and CHICKEN! You can't imagine thelooks on their faces when first biting into the chicken. I don't have the words to express the satisfaction. It's at that point a young girl came crying to Katie. She had fallen from a tree and her head was bleeding. We watched Katie magically perform minor surgery, patch the girl up and send her back on her way. I promise youI've never seen anything like it. Then Bashir came in the house only for Katie to say; "I think he has scabbies, I have to run him to the clinic". Off to the clinic she and Bashir went as Katie's girls handed out bags of food to each child filled with flour, beans and rice (bags they had filled that morning separating by hand each ingredient. Enough for each child a week's worth of meals, although I'm quite sure it actually fed the children's family. Katie and Bashir return, and the diagnosis is scabbies. Katie announced that Bashir would be staying with us for a few days while she treated him. You should have seen the look on the faces of me, Brad and Ben!!. .Surely she was kidding, Nope! The day was not over...off to the Karamonjongs for Katie and Ben to check on little Michael, You've read that story.
Did I say it was still Saturday, day 1 of our visit?
I won't bore you with a day by day account, but thought day 1 would set the tone.
On day 3 it was determined Katie has solved the age old marital problem of raising and lowering the toilet seats. Hers are broken and she simply removed them.When I suggested I would buy her new ones she looked at me like I had three heads. She asked if I knew how many children she could feed for the costof toilet seats? I looked at her like she was nuts, but I can tell you that you can adjust to life without toilet seats when all you can think about isfeeding another one of these children.
The week has continued with more of the same. Today is Thursday and I believe it is the first night Katie has not hosted another sick child spend the night. The power has been outsince last night, but it didnt not stop us from attending a meeting at the school where Katie feeds the Karamonjongs. I watched my daugter masterfullycontrol a meeting with 7 school administrators and determine solutions for arrising conflict. PRIDE moment. Then down the hill to Karamonjongs. You simply can't imagine the poverty unless you see it. The smell is undescribeable. The looks on the faces. I cannot get the pictures out of my head. Walking up the hillKatie, Brad and I had as many hands touching us on each arm and our waists as humanly possible. From our elbows down you could see nothing other than brown little fingers just doing anything to touch our white skin as we headed up the hill for lunch.
To finish our week Katie wanted to take us to Sumini's village; how she ever found this place is beyond my wildest imagination. After a 3 mile walk down railrod track, into the jungle, turn right at the dirt path we came upon this tiny little village. Sumini's biological parents greeted Katie with the joy and enthusiasm I've seldom seen. I had no idea what they were saying so I just smiled and nodded until the witch doctor showed up appearing drunk and begging for us to come to his house. That was enough for me!!
Enough rambling, but I want all of you to know, to see, to smell and to feel the impact you are having on this world. Our President can come to Africa for photo opsand talk the talk, or Katie and her team can come to Africa and WALK the WALK. She and YOU are making a difference in peoples lives every single day!I can't begin to tell you the number of Ugandan people that have approached me in town this week to tell me how much they love and respect Katie. Howmuch they appreciate the impact she is having on the children of their country. It's all possible because ALL of you continue to express your love.
As Brad and I prepare to depart tomorrow I can feel the tears beginning to well up. I will leave my precious Katie for another year, a time period I have a hard time imaging. I know she is in God's hands and he will continue to watch over her and keep her safe.
Thank you dear Katie, Auntie Christine and my 13 beautiful grandaughters for sharing your home, your lives and your love. You have changed my life forever when I didn'tthink that was possible. I will miss you everyday!!