General CBF

Parton to Poverty

Today was the national holiday Martyrs’ Day in Uganda, celebrating a group of Christians that were killed by King Mwanga in 1886. While thousands of Christians make pilgrimages, our local hotel chose to celebrate by playing Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers on loud speakers at 7 am! Neadless to say, waking up to Dolly is a new experience for all of us. This was shortly followed by a man asking Carson for one of his “wives” on our walk to Jade and Shelah’s house. Our group of three is commonly viewed as a husband and his two wives-which is obviously another cultural difference we are learning about. The mood of our day drastically changed when we traveled to Banda, a slum in Kampala.

Simon and Aggie, servants with International Missionaries for Christ, introduced us to a group of windows who make beaded necklaces and bracelets living in Banda. These ladies are some of the poorest people living in the slum, they have  been displaced due to war, are all HIV positive, and are all caring for at least four children, many of whom are not their own. Aggie has played a major role in helping these women create a business and in doing so has helped to develope their faith and lifestyles. Prior to this, their only source of income was breaking up rocks in a quarry. We were able to meet with the ladies and purchase their beautiful jewelry. After sharing our stories together, they took us on a tour of the slum inviting us into each of their 14 houses. 

I was humbled by the women’s hospitality and thankfulness towards us. The small amounts of money we paid would allow them to buy food and clothing for their children and we still walked away with beautiful bead work. As we walked through the slum, children would smile and wave yelling, “hello mzungu” which means white person in Swahili. Some would come and walk with us holding our hands, while others would run away giggling. Adults also greeted us with warm smiles. When we would enter each widow’s house, they would say “you are welcome.” They proudly welcomed us into their tiny mud huts that were the size of a small American bathroom where as many as ten people would sleep. As we winded through the slum, we stepped over running sewage water and climbed crumbling dirt mounds. This was the most extreme poverty I have ever experienced, but some of the most congenial and passionate people I have met. As we left the slums toddlers followed us waving goodbye and the widows provided us with bottles of pop, hugs, and blessings for our families. As we conclude this day and this post, I honestly don’t know how to process what I have seen and heard. My heart aches with the pain and suffering these women have endured but yet I have been blessed by the love and gifts I have recieved.

6 thoughts on “Parton to Poverty

  1. Thanks for sharing this experience. This kind of poverty affects the affluent first emotionally but also intellectually and morally.

  2. Abby!! Its great to hear from y’all. Your post really made me think about all the luxury that we have in the US and truly appreciate all we have. I thought it funny to hear about the little things from “Western culture” that are present in Uganda and the vast differences you woke you to Dolly Parton (haha) and were mistaken for Carson’s wives?! wow! Thanks for posting, prayin’ for ya!

  3. Thanks for the update Abby! I’m so glad to hear you are having a n amazing experience so far and you are all in my prayers each day!

  4. Hey Ab!

    Thanks for posting this, it’s really great to know what you are doing and to hear your stories as they happen. You are doing great work!

  5. Abby-

    thanks for this great description of your day. Those women are real survivors and their perseverance is inspiring. The realities of the poverty in which all live are overwhelming and reframe our concepts of wealth…
    you will have many more questions than answers when you return — God is in the midst of them — both the people and the questions…
    Praying for you all-

    Amy

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