Let me start by saying, I don't normally talk about the charity work I do or support, because I usually subscribe to this school of thought: Matt 6:3-4 "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 so that your giving may be in secret And your Father, who sees what is done in Secret, will reward you", but this story I feel; needs to be told because It changed me, and so I Hope it inspires and changes you too.
|My Friends and I Having a laugh with the girls|
For the longest time, my niece Evelyn Karungi of +Eve & Nico Business had been telling us about Warrior Women, (now GIRL EMED) A Charity organisation she had started. I had never really understood what exactly It did or was about, but I supported her anyway because I figured its charity, it must be for a good cause. I'm a Rotarian and in Rotary we believe in Service above self. So one day I invited Evelyn to come and give us a talk about her Warrior Women Organisation to see if our Rotary club would partner with her or sponsor her program, and to really understand what Warrior Women was about.
After her presentation I was greatly moved by these girls she talked about and I decided It was time to meet them.
From the presentation I gathered that she was supporting girls who had been rescued from all kinds of atrocities ranging from defilement, rape, child molestation, and underage marriage. I asked two friends of mine if they wanted to support the cause and they agreed and we decided to go to Entebbe early Learning School to meet the girls. Evelyn gave us the details of items they might need and we bought them and went to visit the girls. Nothing could have prepared us for the welcome we received from these girls. They looked nothing like I had imagined. They looked happy, healthy and very warm. I almost didn't believe that these are the same girls that had supposedly been rescued
|Look at their happy smiles|
After welcoming us, the girls and boys sang for us and danced for us. It was a lovely Presentation. As soon as the presentation was done we were invited to have lunch with them and this is when we got to really interact with them. My emotions were not prepared for what happened next. We sat with the girls and they started to share with us their stories. One of the girls narrated her ordeal, of being continuously raped by her father from the age of 6 after the death of her mother. For about five years, she was being defiled by her own father until one night she couldn't take it any more. She ran away until she found someone to help take her to the police station. "I ran and the road wasn't ending" she recollects. I sat in silence, listening and having all kinds of emotions ranging from anger, rage, hate for her father's cruelty and having empathy for her and pitying her situation. Then she said to me, " But Now, I forgave him and I am Happy". I was speechless. And, if you know me you know that being speechless is rare for me if not a myth. I'm talkative and I always have something to say. But not that day. That day, in that moment I had nothing to say. I was speechless!!! Looking at her stunned wondering if she really understood what it meant to forgive, and be happy... Asking myself "how can you be happy? Why don't you want to kill your father? ??? No one would judge you if you did, we would all understand". She looked at me as if reading what was going on in my mind, and she said " I know it is hard to believe, but I have found the love of God, and so I forgave my father and now I pray for him". In that moment, everything else stopped to matter. All my small worries, my petty woes, they all seized to matter. Here I was, with a girl who had been through the imaginable and yet she had managed to overcome, forgive and find a happy place. She really was happy, she had the brightest smile and she was quite cheeky cracking jokes and making merry with us. I gave her a hug and told her she had inspired me. I thought I had gone there to inspire them and give them hope, Little did I know, they would inspire me instead and transform me. My life hasn't been the same ever since. Something about that experience stayed with me and stays with me to this day. Nothing is unforgivable, and if a girl can overcome the ordeal of her father who is supposed to protect her but rapes her instead, there is nothing you can't overcome.
|The girls and I|
- You are not what you've been through, Smile through your adversity
- No matter how difficult your situation seems, be optimistic. Nothing is permanent
- You don't need material Things to be happy
- If she can forgive the unspeakable, there is nothing you can't forgive
- Love does indeed bear all things and forgives all things
- No matter what you're going through, someone else where has been through worse,
- Don't take things for granted, just because someone has less than you doesn't mean they're less happier than you. That girl was definitely happier than me that day with all that I have
- Be grateful for the little you have, someone elsewhere is praying for it.
- Love, give and be kind to people, you never know what they're going through
- Stop being petty and stressing over the little things, its never that serious.
|One of the letters the girls wrote to me|
I'm grateful for people like Evelyn for helping these girls and supporting them, And for Daphne their Care taker, and for their "mummy" who has dedicated her land, resources to building a school for them and teaching them life skills so they feel like they have grown up in a home, For my friends Anisha and Mercedes who were so selfless as to give and give and give to these girls and pay school fees for some of them.
Lastly, thank you to the girls for the warm welcome, for letting us in and allowing to share their stories with us, for loving us and blessing us with their testimonies. My life will forever be changed because of you.
|With one of the babies at Entebbe Orphanage|