Monday, Nov. 11, 2009
By Ken Jensen

Today most of the team traveled to visit the villages of Bupoto and Sibanga. Bupoto is one of my favorite villages far up in the mountains overlooking deep, lush, green valleys.

The village has been sponsored by Seaside Community Church in Newport Beach, California. Sponsorship of a Ugandan village includes funding the digging of a well, building a medical clinic, a church building, a house for the pastor and sanitary toilet facilities.

Bupoto is a personal favorite of mine because it is the home village of our sponsored daughter, Watera Bekka. As we were approaching Bupoto by bus I mentioned to Sam, one of the orphan program field workers, that I had been looking forward to this day because I was going to see our daughter, Bekka.

Sam informed me that Bekka wouldn’t be there. She had been sent to live with her auntie in Tororo, where the schools are better. Needless to say I was very disappointed and lost a little bit of enthusiasm about our visit.

As we emptied the bus and approached the church building, out of nowhere a child ran up from behind and hugged my waist. When I looked down, it was Bekka! My eyes welled up with tears of joy. (Not an unusual occurrence for those of you who know me.)

Apparently arrangements had been made for her to be at Bupoto for our visit and no one had told Sam. It was a wonderful surprise. Not only did I get to see her but I also had the opportunity to meet her mother, Jennifer and her sisters, Betty and Esther.

Her whole family lives in a mud hut that is probably no more than six feet by ten feet divided into two rooms by a curtain. One half is for receiving visitors and the other half for sleeping. This is quite typical for most families in a Ugandan village.

I cannot describe the overwhelming sense of humility that comes over you when invited into such a home and offered something to drink or to eat. Out of their extreme poverty these people are so generous. I am ashamed to accept such costly gifts yet it would be such an insult to refuse.

What also continues to impress me at the great level of authentic joy that is so often expressed by the people we meet. I don’t want to idealize things. I’m sure these people have bad days and feel overwhelmed by such challenging circumstance that they face throughout their lives. But when I think about how often I let such little irritations affect my attitude I certainly have a lot to learn about faith, trust and joy.

It was a great day and to top it all off, Bekka was able to ride back with us on the bus to Tororo. We had time to visit and talk about her new home and her new school. She is doing very well in her schooling and I am proud of the advancements she has made over the past three years. (By the way, I happen to think she is the most beautiful girl in Uganda.)

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