“So, tell me about how you guys came to adopt,” a student asked me as I sat in the baby room of an orphanage (Amani Baby Cottage) in Jinja, Uganda. I was on a student trip with 20 Rift Valley Academy students to Uganda and on the agenda for this morning was a visit to a local orphanage.
It had been a long time since I had hung out in an orphanage. The heat, the smells, and the children at my feet brought back a flood of vivid memories and I had to excuse myself from the room as I was overcome with emotion. Even living in Africa and serving at an MK school, I had somehow insulated myself for a few months from the plight of children around the world. This morning was reminding me afresh of that plight and that I must keep it in the forefront of my mind.
Here are a few photos from the day.
Plenty of babies to go around. Some of our group each holding a child.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
|This boat carried over 25 people and their gear!|
|My room, the storeroom, and the kitchen.|
After a two hour boat ride on a vessel I thought might sink, I had arrived on a remote island in Lake Victoria with a group of students from RVA. We were to be there for a couple of nights doing a service project.
“Sweet,” was my first thought. On an island with no running water or electricity, a private room next to a kitchen was sounding pretty good.
Little did I know.
The local pastor led me to another building that housed the kitchen, a storeroom, and a room where they had set up a bed for me. When he opened the door, a wave of heat rolled out of the room.
|The heaters (I mean stoves).|
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.
|A few of my bat friends.|
Then came the rats. They were crawling out of the walls, scurrying around on top of the walls to the storeroom, then dropping down into the storeroom for supper. I have no idea how many of them there were, but it sure sounded like a lot. I had my flashlight with me, but I decided it would be better for me not to look.
|The rats dinning room.|
I heard a noise that instantly took me back to my 9th grade science class. A missionary kid was dangling a frantic rat by his tail with one hand and holding the tail of his pet python with the other. The python was trying hard to get to the rat but his slithering got him nowhere since he was being held by his tail. Then the kid let go of the snake’s tail and I heard:
WOOSH, SQUEAK, Squeak, squeak.
Each successive squeak of the rat got softer as the snake squeezed the life out of him.
Lying on the bed that night, I tried to put a positive spin on things. “At least there is one less rat,” I thought.
The next day I was talking with the pastor and I brought up the rats.
“Ah, yes. The rats,” he said. “They live in the walls. We were wondering how the teacher would be with the rats.”
“Not a problem,” I said. I did not want to complain since I knew he used to live in that room with the rats and his family.
Later in the day I overheard the pastor talking to the people in the kitchen.
“The teacher is fine with the rats,” he said proudly. “He is used to rats.”
I felt no need to correct the misunderstanding. Their life on the island involved rats and there seemed to be an appreciation that I was OK with that.
I did, however, move my bed over a few feet the next night so that the bat droppings fell onto the floor and not my bed . . .
|Bat droppings on my bedroom floor.|