Mbuyu Christmas Project
Many of you will know that over the last few months we have been raising funds towards handing out warm jackets to street kids as our Christmas project.
While the families we work with in the slums are very poor, we also have a great heart towards the street kids—these precious kids who have no one.
One day we hope to have a full time project to help these kids.
But for now—we will continue to do regular outreaches and projects to try and improve their lives some, and show them they aren’t forgotten.
Derick ( who was a street kid and now works for us) shared with us how one of the hardest things about being on the street, is how wet and cold it can get during the wet season.
When you are out in the elements with no jacket to keep you warm, you can imagine how hard that is.
So hence the Christmas project.
We raised enough money to give out 300 jackets! Which was incredibly exciting!
So along with the YWAM team who were here visiting and some of our Mbuyu team members we headed into the heart of Kampala, where many of the street kids live.
And as soon as we arrive we were reminded, that you can’t always plan things here in Uganda, and you have to be willing to go with the flow.
Sadly the day before the police had done large raids on the area, arresting street kids, and many of them had fled to neighbouring slums and streets.
So we weren't sure how many would be around or how it would go.
But we headed in to the church we had hired for the morning where we would meet the street kids. Derick, along with two current older street kids, who Derick knows, mobilised the street kids who were around and got them along to the church.
The church was also under construction, so we dealt with it being a construction zone and noisy at the same time.
We started off with maybe 50 kids—but by the end there were about 150 street kids.
Mostly boys ( but a few girls) from the age of about 7—18 or so.
The average would have been 10 and above but there were little one’s as well.
It was HEARTBREAKING—especially for my mama bear heart.
I just wanted to take all the kids home with me.
But sadly we can’t do that, and many of them have very big issues.
I would say more than half of them were high on something, many couldn’t stay awake or were clearly off in another world.
Many were sniffing whatever they had to sniff on ( glue, paint, alcohol) from inside their shirt.
It was eye opening for all of us, to see these young kids, who literally have no one caring for them.
...Except each other.
Derick shared a bit of his story with them, how he’d been a street kid and how he ended up where he is today.
Shared with them that even when life seems hopeless, not to give up and resort to hopeless measures, because you never know what is around the corner.
He shared how some of the decision’s he made helped him to get off the street ( not getting high, not stealing etc etc)
We then gave some of them the opportunity to share their stories and how they ended up on the street.
One young boy who was 10 shared how at night they sleep in a trench, and when the rain comes suddenly through the night, they get washed away—and they have to let the water take them and wait for the rubbish net to catch them.
Most of them would not be able to swim, so you can understand how scary that must be. To imagine my young son living that sort of life is unimaginable - and no child deserves to live this sort of life!
I wish we could change this for them immediately! But I have to remind myself - that change is a process and a journey - one step at a time! I do pray that this is the start of creating change for many of them!
The YWAM team did a skit for them and then one of the YWAM members shared his story on how he’d ended up using drugs etc and how he’d found hope, opening up and asking for help and finding God. And realising that he had a purpose. And he reminded the street kids that they too had a purpose in this life - even if they can't find it or don't know it yet.
Then the craziness started when we started to hand out jackets! :)
Thankfully it didn’t take too long for us to get a system in place, and many of the older street kids helped us to get some organisation and helped to ensure that kids didn’t get two jackets ( it was interesting to see the desperation and lengths some of them would go to try and get a second one—one to keep one to sell etc).
It also pained me to see how numb many of them seemed from being high and the lack of gratitude this caused.
It wasn’t the lack of gratitude that made me sad—we don’t do it for that reason, but that this life they were living, was turning these kids, who are naturally very grateful ( Ugandan’s are very humble and grateful by nature) into very different people.
They'll do anything to survive..... they have to......
But there were also some who were very grateful, a few kids who came back a second time to thank me, with tears in their eyes, saying it was the best piece of clothing they’ve ever had.
And this is all because of the support you gave to make this possible!!
We all left that place happy that we’d been able to show some love and help the kids a bit—but I think we all felt numb and disillusioned at this world that allows this to happen.
We don’t know how yet, but one day we hope we can make a lasting change on many of these kids lives.