On my second day in Africa, I went to an orphanage called Bethany Village. It is an amazing place; a vision of what children look like when they are well-cared for and sponsored. Half of the fun going to Bethany was getting there. First, we took a boat across Lake Victoria (once we even had a stow-away cockroach on board with us - African sized! I was told to flick it into the water, which I did. Our Ugandan friend David could not believe I would do that. He said he's never seen a Mzungu who didn't scream hysterically.) After the boat, we hopped on a boda-boda (motorcycle). It was rainy season at the time I was there. Imagine dodging mud-puddles, cows and vehicles as I traveled about 2 miles back into the bush. I was in Heaven. I have always felt that I was made to live in Africa...perhaps someday.
At the end of our boda-boda ride we found ourselves at Bethany Village. It was there that I met Jackie, a 14 year old girl that I dearly love. I spent 3 days getting to know her and helping her to do her chores. She shared with me her life story and the pain it entails. She is happy now. She has a sponsor, food, clothes, an education and a family. Still, her present circumstances do not erase her past.
One of the saddest moments with Jackie was when she told me that her sponsor has only written to her once in 4 years. She wanted to know why he didn't like her. Oh how my heart broke for this precious girl. I'm sure her sponsor has no idea how his lack of words hurt her, how she feels rejected. I thought of my own children that I sponsor. How often do I write to them? Have I written enough that they know I really truly care about them?
I left Jackie with a promise...I would write to her often. When I returned to America, I looked in my money pouch for her e-mail address and it wasn't there. I had everyone else's that I had collected but not hers. How could I lose hers? I was mad at myself, frustrated. After many e-mails to various people in Uganda, I still do not have her e-mail. She thinks I, too, do not care for her. My heart can hardly stand it. She doesn't know that I have thought of her every single day. She doesn't know that I am praying for her. Oh Lord, please let someone answer my e-mail and give me her address.