Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
by Darlene Skarda
Slept in a little in the morning and then took a shower, washed hair etc. The shower is a challenge. The warm water is just a big trickle.
We got a late start today as several climbed “The Rock” in Tororo Amy, Andrea & Sydney did.
About 10:30, we left for Smile Africa in Tororo. It was just a short bus ride. We toured the compound at Smile Africa. They have a very large kitchen as they feed over 400 Karamojong children six days a week (not Sunday). The children walk many times with their younger siblings “piggy back.” They may walk two miles each way. They are fed porridge in the morning and food rich in protein & soy (developed by Angie) from Feed My Starving Children. About noon they all strip down and get showers in a large shower.
Some are quite small – barely walking. Some older children also go there in the morning for breakfast and then go to a public school but many are there all day. Some have little or no clothes. They are basically outside. There is a large shelter structure with no sides. They sit in there on the floor to eat. They do have a playground with two merry-go-rounds and some slides. The children are all very curious about us and many come up and take your hand and walk wtih you. Many of them have AIDS from their mothers. They have a nursery there where they keep about 10 babies/infants who have been abandoned. They also have a boy’s dorm for boys who are badly abused at home. One boy,around 10, had his hands and feet tied together and then his mother built a fire under him. Luckily a neighbor was aware of it and rescued him but the back of his legs are badly scarred.
It was interesting to serve them lunch. The all sat on the ground very quietly waiting for us. One little one even motioned to me as if not to forget him. The food is like a thick oatmeal that they eat with their hands in colorful plastic soup bowls.
They want to play on the merry-go-rounds, slides etc. after each meal. Some took naps on the ground. They all go home about 4PM and may not eat again until breakfast there the next morning.
We brought our lunch and ate on the bus. Then we were introduced to 11 widows and we again did the “tea – mini spa.” They loved it! These are ladies that are in the program to help them run their businesses. I was attracted to Bwatrice and agreed to sponsor her for one year (the length of the program). She has been a widow for 15 years if I understand her correctly. She has a small shop in Tororo where she grinds flour and packages it to sell. It was a most interesting day.
I was very impressed with Pastor Ruth at Smile Africa. She has such a heart for the children. She rescured Baby Esther who just celebrated her 1st birthday last week. The baby was left in the dump by her teenage mother,who was later arrested. PAstor Ruth went on to pray for the mother ( the police often call Pastor Ruth when there are problems) and Pastor Ruth didn’t even tell her about Baby Esther who was in the car. The teenage mother didn’t even know if she had a boy or a girl- She had cut the ambillical cord with her fingernails and left her. Pastor Ruth said the teenage girl has never known love so it was next to impossible for her to give love.