“and love is not the easy thing; the only baggage you can bring is all that you can’t leave behind”
There is a definite shortcoming to being in Uganda for only 4 months, but packing so much into my time here. experiences become overwhelming and hard to unpack all at once. This last week I was able to have a little group discussion with the kids at Cherub (it is a home for children with disabilities – mainly muscular dystrophy and problems with the legs, and some other needs like Autism and deformities) We talked about sadness: when they get sad, what they do when that happens, what makes them feel that way and what makes them feel better. I’ve grown to love each of them, and it breaks my heart to hear what they have to cope with at 8 to 12 years old or younger. As they were sharing: some didn’t get to see their family, some didn’t have family at all, one didn’t think he would ever be healed, one said that the person who takes care of him beats him — there was no self-pity, no complaint. They are facts of life. For the most part, it is all they’ve known.
“and if your glass heart should crack, and for a second you turn back, Oh no, be strong… Walk on, walk on”
There is an AIDS orphanage in Luwero, Uganda. To go play with the kids, sing songs, talk and eat with them was so wonderful. It was a small scale orphanage: about 6 families. I loved it. Juliet was one of the HIV infected little girls – she and i played together and had so much fun. But.. it was one day. Luwero is a long distance away; it would be too difficult to regularly visit. That seems selfish to me, to go for a short time, play, and leave. In those short amounts of time, what they show me far outweighs anything I give them.
“Home…hard to know what it is if you never had one. Home…I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home. That’s where the heart is.”
I could write about all the children in orphanages and homes that I’ve met in such a way that makes them seem as victims; disadvantaged and unhappy. I could show you pictures like the ones used for propaganda – sad looking kids with bloated tummies and ratty clothes. but I think it would be far from the truth. Every time I leave Cherub, I see eyes that exude joy. I feel like i’m caught in such mixed emotions – happy because i can’t help it – they make me happy, but broken because they deserve more than what they’re given. for now, i don’t have any conclusions or answers. i think that’s ok. it’s going to be hard leaving the kids – probably the hardest thing here to leave, but i know how i’ll remember them.
“I know it aches, how your heart it breaks, and you can only take so much: walk on, walk on.” – U2 “Walk On”