A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, fa….. Okay, not THAT long ago, I found I had a problem remembering names. I guess it is age. It takes serious brain power to remember names and it never used to be that hard. I call it “Brain Strain.” It really annoys me….
So here we are in Uganda where people, namely Christians have adopted a name like ours: David, Joshua, Lydia, Robert, etc. But there are many who are Muslim who have more complex names. Hence my problem: We are meeting so many people and I want to remember their names but struggle. People like to hear their names when you talk to them. It’s hard when I can’t remember so I just say “Hey Dude” or “Hi there young lady.”
So here we are just getting to know 84 a.k.a HOPE kids and 10 guardians. We have all the names on documentation and I know a few by their faces. How do I learn 84 names!? We have our new church family at Kyampisi and I am slowly learning some names. It will be a slow process I’m afraid. It seems that I have been leaking brain cells for a while (no comment).
I say all of this and ask the question “What’s In A Name?” when I think about this past Saturday as we volunteered with Peter’s ministry at a medical camp set up at a school in a small village a few kilometers from Kyampisi. We met everyone from the doctors and nurses to the mayor to all the little kids in the school who turned out in their green uniforms.
We talked with some people about their faith and prayed with a few. We didn’t know what we would be doing. The kids levitated towards us and that is where we spent a lot of our time. When it comes to names, I can’t remember any of theirs at all! BUT, we connected with them! We haven’t had the chance to spend much time with our kids yet.
So this was a great way to see how we will connect with them. Debra was a hit teaching the “Banana Dance” and had them all giggling. I took them out to a field and we played “Mingle Mingle”, a game I saw Chris play with the a.k.a kids. They had a blast and of course I did. Kids love to play and love it when we spend time with them.
These kids are amazing! You cannot help but fall in love with them. So we don’t know their names but we love them anyway!
That was my experience last August when I came here and met the a.k.a kids. My heart was energized for the faces and names I didn’t know. You see, this love can only be the result of the Lord’s work in my heart! I have had a love for kids for many years but I have to admit there is something incredibly special about the kids we encounter here.
Christians, Muslims……. It doesn’t matter. They are all amazing children. Us muzungos are an oddity here so we attract more attention than most people. If you pull out a camera, they gather around for a snapshot and love looking at them. Throughout the day we got a massive kid fix. When you get around so many kids who live with almost nothing, you quickly see they appreciate the little things.
These kids know nothing about playing video games, getting the latest new toy let alone having a room full of presents for Christmas. They don’t know what it is to have the coolest Nike’s or have a meltdown on aisle 3 in the grocery store not getting the candy bar they wanted. The school these kids go to has rooms without windows and desks in poor condition. Their view of life is so different from our own in terms of where we came from. Seeing the joy that they have is humbling to me….. Well, almost all of them. I couldn’t get this little guy to smile no matter what I did!
These people tell us all the time that we are such a blessing to them! What we try to impress upon them is that WE are the ones who are blessed! The Ugandan people are amazing. The lives they lead and the trials they have are far different than what we have experienced in our country of birth. They appreciate the small things in life that we take for granted.
We are settling in some and getting used to our new normal. It is a life that is far simpler that is without so many of the luxuries that come with living in America. But we will have it better than a lot of people here. What the Ugandan people lack in material wealth, they more than make up for in the way they approach and see life.
They cherish relationships, enjoy what they do have and hope for a better day.
Even though names are not something that readily stick to my brain, the people of Uganda are being knitted deep into my heart. As we continue building relationships with all those we will be doing life with, I know the names will begin to stick. For now, I am happy to have their faces and smiles impressed on my mind.