Bufukhula is a community in Eastern Uganda that FH Canada has been in relationship with for just over fours years. During a recent visit, I toured the local Health Clinic which the community built and FH Canada furnished with equipment and supplies. After touring the clinic and school gardens, we had a formal welcome presentation in the church.
Then, I met Boaz.
Boaz knew I was coming because he had been told that his sponsor Donna, an FH Canada staff member, had sent a small package for him. Boaz came up to me and in very good English welcomed me to Bufukhula. He smiled as though everything in his life was on track. I was quite shocked when he took us to his home where his grandparents are raising him and his five siblings.
Some time back, Boaz’s father had left his family for a job offer. He never returned. Boaz’s mother followed suite, abandoning her family, unable to cope with the trying situation. The children were left with their grandparents who at this age, looked far from healthy.
Boaz had dressed up for the special occasion, but I suspect he had borrowed the clean white shirt he was wearing from someone else.
I sat with the grandparents under a big old Mango tree and spoke with them for half an hour. I detected no bitterness in their words. I tried to think how I, as a grandfather, would feel in their shoes. At the end of their lives they were looking after 6 kids, aged 2 – 8.
It also struck me, how Boaz had presented himself to me at the church, giving no indication of his circumstances. He had stood tall and proud, happy to meet me. When asked how he was doing, he had said fine. He was thankful for all that God has been giving him. Wow!!
How can we in the West have so much and not respond in this way? As I travel I find more contentment in places like Bufukhula than in North America. It begs the question: who has it better anyways? How much is enough?
When I got up to leave, the grandfather came to me with tears in his eyes and said he was sorry that he couldn’t give me the traditional gift of a chicken. They had eaten the last of their chickens a few days ago. At that point there were two grandfathers in tears.