Meet Tom part II

Life in Jinja
Tom is the cousin to Apio who helps out with the ministry as well.  Tom came to work with Healing Faith when we needed a position filled.  In Uganda finding hard working, honest people to work with can sometimes be a challenge and we were thankful to have a personal recommendation.
Tom is also amazing with the children, who absolutely adore him.  He helps them ride bikes, pushes them on the swing and plays games with them during the day.  He plays Hide and Seek and Tag Your It with all the kids. I have seen him “shop” at Hadlee’s market she set up outside.  I have even seen him sit down and play dolls with Hadlee, funny doll voice and all.  Tom is never too busy to make time to play with the kids.  He was even a good sport one day when all the kids ambushed him with water guns!   VIDEO
 I have a couple stories from my time together with Tom that always make me smile.  One day as we were traveling to pick up a table, Tom kept  looking over at me as I was driving.  I finally asked Tom is something was wrong.  Looking at my seatbelt, he  asked “Sir, should I tie myself to the vehicle as well?”  It never occurred to me to show Tom how to put on his  seatbelt.
Tom has also been exposed to many new American foods during his time with us.  Tom and Apio both eat lunch with us everyday.  We mostly eat Ugandan style lunches, but from time to time we have an “American” meal.  Tom has tried some American treats such as; Jello, which was really fun to watch, Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, soft tacos, smores and I think his personal favorite was pizza.  He is always adventuresome and will try anything the kids bring to him. One time the kids were so excited to give him a Warhead candy and see his reaction to the sourness.  They weren’t disappointed!
Tom trying S'Mores
During my conversations with Tom he told me “Sir, I think the world is going the way of computers, and I think I should learn about them.”  So for Tom’s birthday we arranged for him to have computer classes in town.  Tom learned everything from how to set up a computer and care for it, to typing, word processing and excel.  He is still working hard on learning to use the computer.  We are very proud of Tom and how hard he is working to learn a new skill.
Tom always works hard, and rain (we’ve been getting a lot lately) or shine, Tom always has a smile on his face.
During my time visiting with Tom, he left me with a couple quotes;
“By the time I reached here I was so excited to find you were a friend to me and you were providing for my basic needs. By working with you I can see I have a bright future ahead.”
“What I can tell you is I faced some problems with schooling, but good enough, God was with me.”
Listening to the struggles Tom faced just to get an education has given me a whole new perspective on what a privilege it is to have received an education.  As parents we have a hard time getting kids out of bed in the morning for school, or in our case a hard time motivating them to complete their home school. Tom got up every morning at 5am to dig in the garden and to care for his animals just to scrape up enough money to pay for school fees. Admiration is the word that comes to mind….
How easy would it have been for Tom to look at his situation as hopeless and quit his schooling?  He never did, he worked hard, persevered and was able to complete through Senior 4.   The struggles I faced (or what I thought were struggles) during my schooling, pale in comparison to what Tom went through.
Honestly, with integrity, working hard and always a smile on his face; this is how Tom goes about his daily life.  He is truly a blessing to our lives and to our ministry.
Matthew OrtegaComment