Friday, April 11, 2014

Libraries of Love - April 2014 Newsletter - republished

April 10, 2014 
Check out what's new on our website. Join us on Facebook.

More than just books ...

A smiling Moses appreciates his new clothes.

By Trudy Marshall
Executive Director

Moses, 11 years old, is in 2nd grade. Our paths crossed last year. A neighbor called to ask me if I could help Moses. He had never been to school. His father made him watch his two little sisters all day, leaving him 1,000 schillings, about 40 cents, a day to feed them. Moses's mother is deceased. I went to find the man. As I arrived on my boda in a slum area, I found myself at a Karamajong trial. The Karamajong (people like Masai) hold their own court and punish their own. Moses's dad was on trial for beating his girlfriend. I later went to their home. They were in a tiny hut with big holes in the thatched roof. The kids were getting wet when it rained. I paid to have the thatch repaired and offered to put Moses in school.

Neighbors volunteered to watch the girls. A sponsor was arranged and Moses had a good year in first grade. Recently, the neighbor lady approached me to tell me that someone had accidently dumped hot ashes on Moses foot, and it was horribly burned. He was at her house. I went to find him and the sight of the foot made me gasp. It was badly infected. I took Moses to the doctor, and he received medicine. We also went to the therapist, as they were worried his foot would not bend.

I found that his father had sold all his clothes and shoes, except for his school uniform. When I left, I tried to hug Moses. He didn't understand a hug, so the neighbor pulled his arms around me and I held him. The next day on the boda when we were going clothes shopping, he reached back and put my arms around his middle. He is a precious little boy. His father doesn't want to be bothered with him, so we are working on a place for him to stay - perhaps a boarding school. Thinking of Moses reminds me of the song, "Jesus loves the little children ... ." Definitely Moses deserves much love.

Juma - the rest of the story

Juma, at right, with friend at school.
Juma, 12, lived in a falling down hut with his father, who was starved and crippled. The man's ex-wife ran away with a boyfriend but returned with four small children. She was determined to starve her crippled ex-husband to get the hut and some land he owned. Neighbors spoke of how they had tried to go inside and help the man, but she wouldn't let them. I went in the hut. The man was lying in a bed in the dark. He said he was hungry. I checked him into a clinic. They said he was malnourished and was a diabetic. He stayed two weeks. They had one pair of crutches at the clinic, which I asked if I could buy. They said no they needed them. While Juma's father was in
the clinic, an older son tried to steal the crutches, not for his dad, but to sell. The staff chased him down and recovered the crutches. He was trying to escape on a boda.

When the man returned home, I took pity on the little kids and bought a decker (bunks) and mattresses for the kids, and a mattress for the dad. His was in shreds. The doctor told the man he should not eat potatoes, a common staple here in Uganda. When I went to check on him, he said he was hungry. The ex-wife would only feed him potatoes.

The night before I left Uganda in August 2013, I had a doctor come about 8:30 at night to remove the dad's catheter by flashlight. It should have been done much earlier. Soon afterward, the ex-wife went away and took all but one twin bed, which was being used by the thief son. She also took Juma's clothes and shoes. It seemed the only way to give Juma a chance, was to remove him from the home. His father agreed.

Juma is now boarding at Namirembe Primary School, the home of Libraries of Love's first library. He is a great kid. He told me he has a best friend, Martin. He said I would like him as he has no bad habits. I recently received this note from him - decorated with flowers: "Dear Trudy, how are you? I hope you are fine. My studying are good and am fine. My greeting to you with all my heart along with my friend e.g Morgan, Trevis. I thank you for everything you have done for me. And may God bless you my mother. From your loving friend Juma."

Fortunately, we have long time friends at Namirembe that are taking good care of Juma. He is a happy boy! When he goes home for break, he will need to leave everything at the school. The rest of the story is just beginning.

Special thanks to Juma and Moses's sponsors, as well as our other sponsors who are truly changing lives one child at a time.

Libraries are the mission

The Libraries of Love container is in Durban, South Africa, and will soon move on to Kenya, then overland to Uganda. Bookshelves are being built. The LOL team is excited about serving 5,000 additional students in five new libraries this year.

The 34 Libraries of Love librarians will meet for two days in May; the team will arrive in June to create the new libraries, our 34 headmasters will meet together for two days in July; and daily thousands of children are reading.

The LOL focus is always the libraries. If children can't read, how can they succeed? The libraries are so important. At times, because I stay in Uganda six months, God
puts needy children in my path, and it is a pleasure to be able to match them with generous sponsors who can meet their needs, especially in education.