shared by Cara Murray
I am in love with the people of Apelleun and Alelesi.
I have been home from Katakwi for a few days now and keep thinking about the time I spent with the people there. For several days I spent time with people who have endured extreme hardship for their entire lives yet they continue to press on and rise above all of that. These people have spent upwards of 30 years in IDP camps living in fear, knowing their homes and crops no longer exist. A few years ago the area experienced severe flooding that ruined all their crops and last fall there was a horrific famine that took the lives of many. However, many are starting to return to their land, they are trying to rebuild their homes and plant crops. They may have no shoes or money or lack the basic necessities most of us take for granted but they do not lack courage or strength.
I have seen great change in these villages in the 3 months since I have been visiting them. They have come together. They have elected borehole committees, constructed protective fencing around the borehole, identified leaders in their communities and worked together to improve their lives. The location of the borehole in Apelleun is on the property of an older gentleman. He has sacrificed his land for his community and made the announcement on Tuesday that he would clear more and for a church for the community. I don’t think we realize how generous this is. This man has very little; the only thing he really has is his land. The people depend on their land for food and possibly to generate a bit of income for their family and this man has sacrificed what he has for his community.
In Alelesi a retired teacher was digging a pit latrine for his family when he came across water. Up until they received their borehole, the entire community used this water. He is in the process of building a big home (by their standards) and told us he plans to use it for protection for the entire community should they face problems. He gave his land for the construction of a pit latrine for the community and now spends all his time improving the lives of the people in his community.
I feel so blessed to be able to know such people but it makes me sad that I know so few people like this. Whether or not they know it, these people are living Biblical lives. They are sharing what they have with others, they are persevering through the difficult times and they are working hard to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
With all that said, I will say that it is extremely difficult for me to spend time with people who truly lack the basic necessities. At our training on Monday in Apelleun, out of 70 people, I saw 4 or 5 people wearing shoes. That is not an exaggeration. I saw little kids feet split open and covered in sores from walking without protection.
The results from Amuge’s tests revealed that he is HIV negative and that the only thing he needs is food. Amuge is severly malnourished and I hate that. I hate that we can’t ask other people in the community to help out because most of the children are malnourished and need more food. I hate that Hellen wasn’t able to go to the hospital for her follow-up appointment because they didn’t have money for the transportation or medical bills. Can you imagine what would happen to this little girl had she not come to the training on Monday? She would continue to grow and I assume experience a lot of pain as the skin on her arm would not grow with her.
To keep Amuge busy during the training, I took out a pen and paper. I am not exaggerating when I say that he had no idea how to hold a pen and was shocked when it made marks on the paper. I almost cried.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15 states:
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written, ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.’”
I have the Life Application Study Bible and it says that Paul wrote this letter to the church of Corinth and Christians everywhere. While we rarely see this lived out in our society and in this world, it absolutely should not be like this. This letter was written for us. This is the Word of God and it applies just as much today as it did when it was written. This means that Amuge should have a pair of shoes and plenty of food to eat. Equality does not mean that some people get to have 2, 3 or 4 homes while others go without a roof over their head. Equality does not mean that some people get to travel the world and stay in the nicest hotels while others have to walk over 3 miles to get water. Equality is not children in some parts of the world owning 20 pairs of shoes while others walk miles to school in bare feet. Equality is Biblical and as it states in 2 Corinthians, it requires some people giving to others in their excess. And the truth is that there is true joy in this. It may not be easy to give up what we have for the sake of others but it is always worth it. I can’t imagine somebody giving up their weekly manicure appointment for the sake of children eating or going to school and later regretting it. I am 100% confident it would be worth it. I don’t think it would cause too much pain to buy generic brands over expensive brands so somebody can sleep under a mosquito net or own a pair shoes. God rewards those who obey Him, while they may not be earthly rewards or rewards we’ll see in this lifetime, it is His promise and His people are worth it. Every person on this planet that goes a night without food is worth it. Each child that goes to bed hungry or goes to bed with Malaria is worth it. The 26,000 children that die everyday due to hunger or a preventable disease are worth it.
It makes me furious to think of the inequality in this world, but for now I am going to pray about it and focus on the joy of the people in Apelleun and Alelesi. They are wonderful people and I cannot wait to go back. In fact, I hope to go back within the next month. It isn’t a cheap trip but it is worth every shilling in my mind. I’m not sure what I will do when I go back but I’m sure it will be wonderful. And maybe next time I’ll be able to bring Amuge back with me 🙂