Many of our followers may assume that mass jigger removal clinics are Sole Hope’s only focus here in Uganda, but this is far from the truth. While these clinics are very important, our time and energy also goes into our outreach program.
Children are brought in with severe cases of jiggers and stay on compound with us until they are healed. As interns, we have the opportunity to build relationships with the kids that come and go weekly. Not only do we run around, chase monkeys and draw with chalk on the sidewalk, but we hold them when they cry and love them when they are missing their family. There is something special about connecting with a child when they come into our environment, but the connection made when entering their domain is even more extraordinary.
This past week, Haley, the Ugandan staff, and I had the opportunity to reunite four children and two men with their families in their villages. We were welcomed with open arms as we transported their loved ones home. Old and young, siblings and wives, parents and grandparents joyfully accepted the new ideas and good habits brought back by each family member. To see not only one life changed, but also that of an entire community makes everything we strive for worthwhile.
Peeta, our precious outreach child, was brought to us after living in an unstable environment. When he entered our compound, he was sick, malnourished, had too many jiggers for such tiny feet, and his needs had been neglected for far too long. After two weeks we saw much improvement. Not only did we attend to his medical needs, but we tried our best to love him like our God loves us.
Through this time, we fell in love with this little boy. His smile was not only captivating, but his infectious giggles grabbed everyone’s attention. Peeta had many firsts when staying with Sole Hope. He learned how to swim, color, and dance. He attended his first Fourth of July party and devoured his first plate of fish and chips. He learned how to beckon every guest to his side to pick him up and snuggle him. Peeta loved to explore the world around him and desired everyone to experience the things he was observing. Because of experiencing these firsts with this sweet boy, it was difficult to watch him leave.
As we entered his village, the community joined forces to decide what was best for Peeta’s future. As they sat around each other, they discussed every option in detail. Peeta had been living with his father and step-mother previously. During this meeting, his biological mother walked through the door. In a matter of seconds Peeta was in his mothers arms, and oh what joy this reunion was.
Even though we were sad to see him go, and will reminisce those precious moments often, we are beyond blessed to be a part of Peeta’s story. The Lord used this little boy to teach us much about experiencing the little things in life and to never take your fish and chips for granted.
Until we see you again,
Hannah & Haley, Uganda Interns