By Janette Haak
After four great days of conferences with women, I was in my favorite happy place … with children!
There were so many wonderful things that happened on my trip to Uganda with Women of the Pearl, but one specific teachable moment happened on the last day of visiting a school.
We visited four schools/churches and the last one was in Kawate, the largest and most established school we had visited.
On a personal level, visiting the schools was the highlight of the trip. Getting to see all the children, all their excitement and joy was contagious! This school, like most of the schools, had their own garden and livestock. However, this school was a little different, because it had a dormitory and it also had a barbed wire fence.
As we walked the perimeter of the property, with children hanging off of our arms, I noticed a young girl, maybe age 10, with a baby on her hip and holding another younger sibling with her hand. The girl was wearing two unmatched shoes.
I could see out of the corner of my eye that she was following us with very sad eyes. I could see in the distance what I assumed was her home, a small round hut. My heart ached for her because she was on the other side of the fence.
I couldn’t stop thinking about her as we walked the rest of the property to tour the facility. As we walked back to the bus, I thought about the snack in my backpack that would be my lunch. I asked Lynn if it would be OK to share my Clif Bar with the girl on the other side of the fence. Her comment was, “Girl on the other side of the fence?”
I said, “You didn’t see her?” And Lynn replied, “I guess not, but you can give her your Clif Bar.”
I went into my backpack and was happily surprised when I opened my backpack and found not one, but three Clif Bars to give to my new friend. I asked our translator Mary to bring the Clif Bars to the girl on the other side of the fence. Her response was the same as Lynn’s, “What girl?”
I began to wonder if I was the only one who had seen the girl as she followed us along the barbed wire fence. I didn’t go back with Mary, I didn’t take a picture, I couldn’t bear going back to see her again. I’m sure the little girl was thrilled when Mary brought her the treats.
Maybe a half an hour later we got on the bus, I thought about the little girl and remembered that I had given my lunch away. My stomach began to grumble, reminding me that it was time for lunch. I dug through my backpack to see if there was something I had missed and could eat. To my joy I found a container of Nutella with dipping sticks.
Next, for God to really shine and show His glory, people began to pass their food around the bus to share. It seemed endless. I smiled as I thought of the little girl having a nice snack as God provided for both of us.