Sunday, November 21, 2010

The family I visited for the cooking lesson lives in a home with no running water. It has 4 rooms. Two of them are bedrooms for their TEN children. The third is the parents’ bedroom and the last (maybe the biggest) is for their chickens which are kept for their eggs.

Six of the family’s children are the parents’ biological ones. They have adopted the other four from Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda. One orphan is HIV positive, and all of them were found in very poor conditions.

The father told me that he removed dozens of chiggers from one of the adopted daughters. Only one of their children is a boy. They told me that having so many daughters and still adopting more makes people skeptical. Here, it is the girls who are responsible for house maintenance, fetching water, etc. So when a family with so many girls who, to put it bluntly, are valued for little more than their domestic work, people start to question the parents’ intentions.

It is obvious that these cynics are not realistically considering the time, energy, and money (especially considering the medications for the sick ones) that the parents give to their children, and how no amount of domestic work would make this a profitable practice, especially with a house of so many children to begin with.

Mama Mercy is working on making bricks (by hand) to make a chicken coop. That way the family can
occupy the space (already two conjoined rooms) for themselves.

Here, people’s comfort is put so far down on the totem pole, below their livelihoods, below their
family and other relationships, below their reputations among strangers in the community, and below their opportunities to help those around them in need. Half or more of Uganda’s population is under 18 years of age, and so many of those are orphans. In a society where it is already the norm to have anywhere between 6 and 10 children, it’s amazing that so many still take in orphans. There is a level of personal responsibility beyond a monetary contribution to an orphanage or other non-profit, like someone might justify in the US. While the need is greater here, the resources are so stretched that it outshines the compassion of the average American a hundred to one, in spite of our reputation here as givers.

Here is where I start to comment on Americans and their poor level of responsibility for taking care of their own, regarding fear of socialized health care, taxes, etc… but I’ll spare you.



1 comment:

  1. Lucy, i love ya. keep your head up. you are doing great things. my thoughts and prayers of Divine Protection are with you