Side note: Before I start into the real entry, I’ll be home in less than a week (weird) and I’ll be unemployed. I’m intending to remain as such until the new year to decompress and readjust. Anyways, I’m planning on applying to be a nanny and at the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio in Wooster. However, I graduated a year ago with a B.S. in Public Relations (minored in business), and I spent the better part of this year being a receptionist at Haber Corporation (a music business management company in Nashville). If you know of any jobs (preferably more than minimum wage) that I might have a shot at, please email me (email@example.com). And to my friends in Nashville, I’m going to be based out of Ohio for a while…so please don’t tell me about the file clerk position that has opened up at Haber.
Start real entry now.
Over the past week, I have become increasingly successful at putting seven little boys and girls, ages two to six, down for a nap somewhat simultaneously. Last Friday was by far the most successful day. It helped that Sandra had miraculously made it to her bed and fell asleep on her own and Mercy is sick with malaria.
Poor Mercy has been sick like a couple of times in the very recent past. Last time, I took a wet t-shirt and placed it around her forehead and neck. Then we just laid on the couch and cuddled. Why? Because that’s what I liked when I was small and sick. And when I’m feverish even now, there’s nothing I want more than for my mom or dad to come and put a wet washrag on my head.
It’s really unfair that these children don’t have parents in the sense that I know parents. That statement goes beyond just the boundaries of Uganda and Africa. The same problem exists in the United States. A lot of the children’s parents have died. Those children often have other guardians who are too poor to care properly for them. Some of the children still have parents, but like the guardians, they are too poor to care for the children.
One time I scolded a handful of children for losing their toothbrushes and being careless with their belongings. Ruthie and Lilian, two of the sweetest girls here, were among that group. They both began crying. Ruthie, unlike Lilian, went straight to her bedroom and curled up on her bed and continued crying. I went in about 15 minutes later and Ruthie was still lying on her bed, whimpering. I felt absolutely awful and did my best to console her. Not because I scolded the children, they needed it; but because this is Ruthie’s life. She doesn’t have a mother who, after a nasty fight, picks her up at school for lunch or leaves a dinosaur-shaped jug of juice outside her bedroom door. She doesn’t have a mother who tucks her in with a kiss and lullaby at night. She isn’t kissed, and she often kneels to those older than her. This isn’t summer camp for Ruthie. She will continue to share a relatively small room with eight to 10 other girls on three-tiered bunk beds, with blankets that still stink of urine (even after multiple washings) from the numerous times Frida and Nisha have wet the beds. She will eat posho (maize flour, similar to really thick Cream of Wheat) and beans for almost every meal. She will bathe out of a bucket and pee in a pit latrine. She will most likely forever hand-wash her clothing, because it seems that Uganda does not know the luxury of washing machines.
However, Ruthie does have one amazing thing going for her. Despite her circumstances and the constant chores of fetching water, mopping the floors and washing the dishes, she has found how to rise above it. The children received their school reports yesterday. Ruthie, a primary one student, was second in her class of 63. The girl is brilliant. All of the primary one children (Ruthie, Lilian, Bob and Moses) performed extremely well.
My prayer is one of thanksgiving for the children I’ve met like Ruthie, but my prayer is also looking ahead to the future. I pray there will always be someone around to encourage the children’s education. I pray Ruthie will continue to be at the top of her class and she will one day sleep in a room by herself and bathe under a warm shower. I pray someone will say “nkwagalagwe” to her at least once a day. I pray one day, after receiving her university degree and marrying a man who will treat her with dignity and respect, Ruthie will become a mother to a little girl just as wonderful and beautiful as she is. And I pray that Ruthie will tuck that little girl into bed every night with a kiss on the forehead and a soft lullaby.