O’Where Are The O’Haras?
One of the biggest highlights of these last few months was being able to visit six of the seven AIDS Orphans & Street Children (AOSC) Rescue Units currently running in Uganda. These units operate far out in the villages where no other Christian aid organizations are running. We reach out specifically to orphans and widows within a five mile radius of each unit, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as providing things such as basic medical attention, financial assistance with school fees/uniforms, continued discipleship and spiritual guidance, etc. Through various projects we also try to train the orphans in gardening and/or animal husbandry skills to assist them in becoming self supporting members of society.
Justin and I had the opportunity to go along on the Encourager Runs, a monthly visit to each Rescue Unit to deliver supplies and check on the progress of the ministry there, as well as offering encouragement and refreshment to the facilitators of each unit. Since our Ugandan Teen Boot Camp was on their project time we also had the chance to visit three of the teams and see the progress of their work. Though the days were long and tiring and we travelled many a bumpy, dusty road, and even crossed a lake, it was wonderful meeting with the different facilitators who all welcomed us with open arms.
Reaching TTT (Telling the Truth), one of our Rescue Units is either a twelve hour drive around a lake or a four hour drive plus a four hour boat ride. When we visited this unit we traveled by boat and we of course spent the night. As we were getting ready for bed, we kept hearing a strange noise coming from the far corner of our room. In checking it out, we were surprised to discover that we had a roosting chicken for a roommate! The next morning we awoke to discover that some of the chicks had hatched overnight.
We also had the opportunity to visit the home of Opwono Charles, one of the students from our Uganda BIBLE, MISIONARY & WORK Training Center (UBMW). Opwono’s mother is one of two wives, and his older brother actually has three wives! They all live near each other in small houses or even huts and all the children run around and play together. When we arrived we were warmly greeted and sent to sit in one of the huts while they served us soda pop and biscuits (sweet crackers). We were the first Muzungus (white people) to ever be a guest at their home! We sat and enjoyed chatting with Opwono’s mother (with him translating – she didn’t speak any English). He also shared with us all the sacrifices she had made for him to be able to go to school. At one time she would even make charcoal to sell for his school fees, etc. As we were getting ready to leave she gave us a large bag of dried sweet potatoes & also a bag of millet. Then she gave Shannon and Camille each a chicken. We were overcome by her generosity – out of her poverty she gave so much! It was a great lesson for us that day and we were incredibly humbled and challenged.
Justin & Shannon O’Hara