I entered a small room to see a once healthy four-year-old boy lying on the bed. He laid motionless with his eyes closed. I could immediately tell that he had lost a significant amount of weight. I became even more concerned than before. I found out from his mom that it had been 3 days since he ate. He received medicine for malaria but it was not helping. I asked to look at the medicine he was taking and noticed immediately something was not right. The dosage for the additional medication given was for an adult and 100 times the dosage for a 4-year-old boy.
Deeply concerned for Godfrey’s health, I immediately asked Mercy, Godfrey’s mother if we could go to the clinic together. She immediately burst out into tears and wrapped her hands around me. She had lost her 3-month-old son just 4 months before and feared that her 4-year-old son would also not make it.
Together we went to the clinic. The doctor examined Godfrey and took a blood sample. I waited with Godfrey, his smaller brother and mother for the results. Soon. His 2-year-old brother jumped and played in the doctor’s office, while Godfrey was too weak to even stand for very long. He sat on the chair and looked out on the world around him.
We then heard Godfrey’s name as the doctor motioned for us to have a seat. He then proceeded to share with Mercy and her son “Godfrey does not have malaria, typhoid or HIV. He is severely malnourished. He just needs to eat. For breakfast you should feed him an egg and bread. For lunch you should feed him…” As the doctor went on, I saw the look of shock and horror come over Mercy’s face. There was no food at home. There had not been food for several weeks. This family of 15 was getting by on drinking porridge and whatever little else was available. Food had not been available for months because their husband who was working in their country was no longer able to send money because war had began in his area. Like so many in his area, he had to flee and hide. His family was left alone in Kampala, without money and a place to go.
As a result, children that were once healthy and nourished, children who were once in school, were suffering. Their moms were also suffering, feeling helpless as refugees in a country where they did not speak English, married to a husband that was controlling and abusive, never having received an education or vocational training and unable to support their children. Mercy, Godfrey and their family is in a situation that a lot of our families are currently in due to the outbreak of violence in South Sudan. Their circumstances are made more complicated because their ethnicity is one that is targeted by the rebel group. They cannot go home. They are not safe in refugee camps. They are not surviving in Kampala.
They were left helpless and waiting. Waiting for HOPE. Waiting for God. Waiting.
I, along with the women’s staff who I work alongside, are called to be Christ’s hands and feet in this situation. Together, we will begin women’s community groups next month that will include group counseling, Bible studies and business training. At these groups, these women will learn that they are created by God with a purpose and hear about God’s grace, hope and love found in Jesus. The women in these groups will form an additional family and community of support for one another. Additionally, through the women’s ministry, we will assist these women in applying for income generating stipends or other jobs in our area. The goal is that they would experience spiritual and emotional healing and training so that they will be empowered to support themselves and their families.
Please pray for our families today. Please pray for these mothers who are so deeply hurting and are not able to feed their children. Please pray for the countries that surround us that are at war that result in families being forced to flee their homes.
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