One of the things we love to do here at Mbuyu is share love in real and practical ways.
One of the ways we have done that this year is by collecting clothes donations from other Ugandans and expats here.
Donations come in sporadically throughout the year and then we do up clothes hampers for families in need throughout Katanga slum.
None of the donations go to families that already attend our programs. Instead we have encouraged our families to spread the love and then have given them the opportunity to nominate people they know who are in need around them.
When we have the items for that particular family, some of the team, and the member who nominate them do a SURPRISE visit to the family.
This is always an incredibly humbling experience - stepping into their tiny room that is their home. Usually no more than the size of a small bathroom in Australia. Inside there could be up to 10 people calling that place home.
They welcome us in joyfully and it is such an honour to be there. They do their best to find room for us to sit or stand -but sometimes space doesn't even allow so we stand outside the door talking.
We share why we've come, and the tears of joy, the laughter, the shock is always evident! To see them tearfully thank the person who has nominated them is so wonderful. I love that we are helping our Mbuyu families to share hope to others in Katanga, and to experience the blessing it is, when we step outside of ourselves and see the need of those around us.
This past week, we visited three families - each with very hard, heartbreaking stories - but each so grateful for the gift of new clothes for their family.
All the women we visited are raising multiple children on their own, or with very little support. One lady was living in a place with 7 other people that was no more than a 2m x3m box.
In these moments, its always difficult to hold it together, but when you stop and remember, this is their home, its their life.... its not about us... its about them... and they are always so happy to have us.
We spend some time, talking about their life, the challenges they face, their dreams for the future. We share about our programs and invite them and their children to come along. And we leave them with their bundle of clothes.
Often when we leave, tears fall down my face as we walk from one house to the next, and I think, "we aren't doing enough... or we need to do more, or we are moving too slowly"..... but then Mother's Teresa's words come into my mind, "we cannot always do great things, but we can do small things with great love".
And I am reminded that an act of kindness, an act of love, no matter how small leaves a ripple... and I pray that the ripples of love we are making here in Katanga - cause a tidal wave of change.