One of the things I wanted to write more about while we were in Uganda is our visit with our Compassion International child and his family. With the start of a new school year, it seems the perfect time to do that, and we just got a letter from him yesterday! Every letter we've gotten from Allen for the past 5 years starts with "Dear friends...Thank you for paying my school fees." It always makes us laugh because we know it's going to be there and how many kids do you know who thank you for sending them to school!?
One of the first things we did when we found out when we would be headed to Uganda was get in touch with Compassion to see if it would be possible for us to meet Allan. They request several months notice to try to make the meeting happen and with only about 2 weeks notice, we weren't sure it was going to be possible to meet him.
On Tuesday, July 5 our friend and driver Stephan drove us with our little ones in tow out to Lugazi. We first stopped at the Compassion International office in Kampala. They showed us around where all the sponsor letters arrive, translators, project coordinators etc.
|The Compassion sign|
|in front of this building entirely used by Compassion!|
This map in the Compassion office shows all the projects in Uganda, they were excited to have a couple pin points in the northern area near Sudan!
Next we headed out to Lugazi, it's about 45 minutes East of Kampala. We went to the school there and met one of the project workers who would be our guide for the day. We were so excited to meet Allan and wondered what this first meeting would be like. Wes is a hugger, I have my moments and this was one of them but we also didn't want to scare him to death and have him think we were crazy. I wondered what he would think of us, would he want to give us a hug or would it be awkward. While all these thoughts are running through our head, we see a tall slender boy dressed in a green suit that we later learned he bought with Christmas money we sent.
|Wes & Allan at his home|
Sure enough, this it's the same boy we've considered part of our family for the last 5 years, a boy who has no idea that he is a part of the reason we chose to adopt from Uganda, a boy who's pictures hang on our wall and we watch him grow through them and now he's standing in front of us!
I don't consider myself a very emotional person but all of a sudden I want to just hug him and make sure this moment is real. I want to tell him how we've prayed for him and his family and how we've talked about coming to visit him but not sure how or when. I want him to know his part in our adoption story but I don't want to freak him out either!
Allan walks us through the village to show us the Child Development Center which partners with the local church.
Introducing Allan to Finger Darts! Wish we would have brought more
All the kids in the village loved to yell "Hello Mzungu" (they use the term for white people but it means "aimless wanderers" in Swahili...that'll keep you humble!). We waved back and wondered if it embarrassed Allan, he seems shy & quiet. These girls wanted their picture taken and we gladly obliged!
Walking to Allan's home to meet his family, we were thrilled to get to meet them. They lived in a 1 room home, the last door on the left in this building. They fed us like kings, I couldn't believe how much food they were serving us and it was pretty good (and I'm a picky eater!). They apologized it wasn't more, they didn't realize we would have 2 little ones with us (who chowed down) but it was more than enough!
Then they presented us with these gifts that Allan's mother made, a basket and rug similar to what everyone there has in their home. It's not a rug like American's have (more for decoration and color), it seemed to be used more as a sitting area rather than sitting on the concrete floor.
In front: Allan's brothers and Sister. In back: Allan's mother, father, grandmother, Wes & Amiya, Danielle & Malakai and our very kind guide for the day!
Before we left their home, they sang a song praising our God and prayed for our family. They told us how thankful they were for us and that they consider us part of their family. Even had our picture up on their wall. Told us how much our sponsoring Allan effected the entire family. We watched as Allan shared his gifts with his brothers and sister and never selfishly or possessively hung onto anything. I was so encouraged and impressed. I have heard a lot about how sponsoring a child through Compassion doesn't just effect that child, it effects the entire family but until you see it for yourself, it's just hard to understand, to grasp as a selfish spoiled american. This family, half way across the world treated us like royalty and I am honored to be part of their family. Thankful they love us, wishing I could do more for them, thankful for how they have blessed our lives in ways they may never know.
As we were leaving, the father asked us to come see a plot of land where they hope to build a home (only possible because of Compassion)
Friends helping to make bricks that they sell to try to make enough money to build their home
Back in April we received a letter from Allan that told us about some goats his family had, they purchased them with money we gave for his birthday. We never saw the goats and learned that they were with another family member because they couldn't keep them at their current home. I was somewhat relieved that they weren't nearby because it would be difficult to travel with a goat!
In all seriousness, if you haven't yet sponsored a child through Compassion International, you should bless a family and change some lives! Your life will also be changed! Thank you Compassion for changing the lives of children, adults, families and communities around the world.
**Note: I've been asked several times if we used Compassion to facilitate our adoption. Compassion does not facilitate adoptions.