Friday, August 12, 2011

Richard, and Rachel ... of the clunky-clompy boots

I may have shared before about being in front of our hotel one day, when this precious little girl came by in a filthy, torn school uniform, held together with pins. What caught my eye was her short, dirty, black boots that were two sizes too big for her. She was simply 'clunking - clomping' right along - looking very unhappy.

I stopped her and ask where she was going, guessing she didn't have money for school fees. I was right, Rachel was being sent home. She didn't have money. Her little face was so sad. I took her hand and led her back to the school, which was only a block, to pay fees. The fees are only 15,000 schillings, which is around $7.00. All that grief - for the amount of money we spend on lunch at the Sonic! After that, every time I have been at the school, when other kids are around, she will stand silently looking up at me, until I spot her eyes. She then says, "I'm Rachel.' I smile and say, "I know!"

She is small for 11 years old, and simply adorable.

Last week, she shyly asked if I would visit her home and see her grandmother. I agreed. A good friend who is a teacher, James, agreed to go with us, as I wasn't sure the grandmother would speak English. Rachel and I rode one boda, with James on a different one. It was about a 10 minute ride - going full throttle (yikes). It seems Rachel walks 45 minutes to school every morning from her small, neat mud home.

Her story: Rachel’s father is dead and the mother left Rachel and her two sisters with the grandmother, and moved to Kampala. The grandmother has five other children to raise - orphans from her deceased brother. Life is difficult. The grandmother was married to a man of a different religion, who had four wives. When she became a Christian, he kicked her out of the home.

She said the night before I paid the fees, she had prayed for a long time asking God to somehow supply the money for Rachel, though she didn't see any possible way. I am so thankful that God had Rachel walk past the hotel just as I stepped outside. I'm sure He must love her a lot. He's that way, isn't He?! I'm sure Rachel and I will continue to meet. :)

I was walking Saturday through downtown from the Internet cafe. The young man walking in front of me had the worst shoes, barely held together at the toes. Back-tracking a minute, I should confess to you that the evening before, I had purchased the bike for Caroline. During dinner, I had joked with Wilber and Sarah and said, "OK, tomorrow is my - 'not do good deeds day' because I have got to quit spending so much money!"

Then - there is this boy walking for about two blocks right in front of me. I am thinking, “Buy shoes; not buy shoes. I can't do something for everyone. Buy shoes; not buy shoes.” He stopped and went into a shop. I followed him inside. When a man asked what I needed, I said, "Nothing, really," and turned to leave. As I started down the stairs, I remembered the scripture in Matt. 25:35, where Jesus said - I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. ... I realized what I needed to do - and do gladly - so I went back in the shop and explained. Richard's eyes and smile lit up his entire face.

There are many places along the street that sell shoes, but Richard kept passing them until he stood in front of one. There was a feast of bright, colorful canvas shoes. I had envisioned black, sturdy leather shoes that would last. But, one look at his face - and I knew he needed a pair of these instead. He picked out some bright, red, leather and canvas, high tops, as he grinned from ear to ear. I had to laugh.

There you have it – Rachel and Richard - God's blessings in my life. As our volunteers always realize - we are the ones who are blessed during our interactions with people here. I find that true each day. To God be the glory.

- Trudy

No comments: