Break my heart for what breaks Your

Tuesday as we were packing up to leave the village, Kari saw a young   girl kneeling in the dirt with her young brother.  She was trying to get jiggers out of his feet because they were paining him so much he could not walk.  She was so small herself and she was doing her best to carry her little brother so his feet wouldn't
hurt.  As Kari approached she saw they were dirty and in tattered clothing. Dirty and worn clothing is common in the village, but these were different.  As she talked with them she noticed they were unusually dirt and had sores all over their little bodies.  The youngest had a sunken look to his eyes and he did not look “well.” 

As Kari talked to them she asked if we could take them tp their home, she wanted to meet their mother.  The children told her they live with their Jaja (grandmother)  We loaded them up in the van and drove them down the dirt road to their home.  When we arrived, there was no one there. Kari began talking to neighbors and found out more to the story. The children in fact lived with their Jaja, but she had gone to Kenya for a burial.  She was not scheduled to return until the next day.  The kids had no food in the house and no water. The oldest was 7 and the youngest was 2-3.  They did have an older sibling that we could not find, he was out gathering fire wood, but he too was just a child himself.

It broke our hearts.  Here were these young kids left to fend for themselves. This world is a tough place, especially village life. I can’t imagine leaving for a few days and turning to Everett to say “take care of Hadlee, Pierce and Joseph while I am gone.” Anyone that knows Everett knows what a scary thought that would be!  Tressie, the 7 year old girl, was doing her very best to care for her younger siblings, but she is a child.  Unfortunately, it is a harsh reality here in Uganda.

We were torn as to what to do.  The best thing we could think was to take them down the road and get them something to eat.  We wanted to get some protein in their little bodies, but all we could find was bread and water.  As I sat and watched them eating bread and drinking water, my heart broke all over again.  Kari was able to get them enough bread for the evening as well, hardly a meal for 3 hungry kids. When I skip a meal or have lunch late and my stomach is growling, I think I am so hungry.  I have never known hunger like these kids before. It is hard for us to know true hunger, we always know at some point our next meal is coming.  It might not be exactly at the time we expect or exactly what we want to eat, but we always know food is coming.  I cannot imagine being 7 years old and wondering when and if I am going to eat again.
Hunger and suffering is happening each and every day here and all around the world. You don’t have to be in the village or even in Uganda to see true hunger and suffering all around you. As you are reading this the underlying thought is probably “How could you just leave these kids there?  Why didn’t you take them into town to get a better meal?  Why didn’t you take these kids home until their Jaja returned?” 

While all these thoughts came into our minds and our hearts, they are not practical.  We could easily be accused of stealing children. There could also be 50 other kids in the same scenario within the village. That is just life here. These are the harsh realities some kids face on a daily basis.

“Break my heart for what breaks Yours” 
Matthew OrtegaComment