Welcome to Uganda
The sun beat down and smoke filled the air when the wind blew. We approached a home made of mud that filled the scene with a bright orange hue. To the far side of the house, a single tree provided shade. As we walked up to the home, five barefoot children greeted us with big smiles, joyful to have a guest. They should be in school, but their single mother can’t afford to send them right now. The mother spotted us, put down the knife she was using to cut reeds for handmade baskets in order to provide for her family, and warmly greeted us.
We entered the home which had a dusty, clay floor. It had three small rooms: one for wood, one for the five children, and one for the mother. As we began talking with her, we heard two small children from the neighborhood run by. One stepped on part of a nearby thorn bush and screamed as the other child removed the thorn.
Welcome to Prossy’s home in Uganda. Here’s her story:
It’s hard as a single mother to take care of my five children. The house where we are staying leaks when it rains. I try my best to put mud on the outside, so the house will not be broken. But when it rains, it messes the house up.
My days start early, I go down to the lake to get papyrus to make baskets. When I have a few baskets made, I take them to the market to sell and get food for my children. After they eat, if we have time in the day, we go for prayers, if not, we go to sleep. I work hard, but I don’t make enough to take care of my kids, and feed them, and pay their school fees, and take care of their health and my own needs. We eat one meal a day. If it is a good day, we get porridge also.
We get water from the tap for drinking. But for washing clothes and such, we go to the lake to get the water because we can’t afford to buy water to drink and wash our clothes.
Shoes are very important and useful in our daily lives. They help us not get injuries from broken bottles, nails, and thorns. They also protect us from getting diseases that attack our children.
Shoes are important in the area of education, too. Kids look smart and feel smart when they have shoes on their feet. It helps them avoid injuring their feet while they walk to school. If the child injures their foot, they end up missing school. So not only are they hurt, but they are also missing class.
It makes me worry when my children are barefoot.
When they get a cut, they can get tetanus and worms can enter their feet. When it rains, it is so muddy and so easy for them to get infected. When they go to play, I just pray to God that nothing happens.
One day, one of my children came home with a cut foot from a broken bottle and another one of my children had thorns in their feet. I tried my best to clean the wound and take care of them, but I had to take them to the clinic to get medical help. This makes things hard because I can’t afford to pay the bills or buy the medicine.
Jiggers can infect my children’s feet, too. One day my children were playing in the dirt and when they came home I noticed their legs began to swell. I wasn’t sure what the problem was until I washed their feet to find that they had jiggers. Because of that, my children could not go to school or continue to go outside barefoot.
If my children are not in good health and don’t get an education, it forces them to make hard decisions. But when they grow up well and can go to school, they can become very useful people. It is my prayer that God can help me raise them.
My hope for my children is for them to be healthy, go to school, and be good people in our community. I want to see them grow and become important people in our community and country.
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