My friend Morris whose life is sprinkled among those of others and whose driving force is to be of good service has a daughter named Dalton with similar beliefs. Morris passed on the following email from Dalton with attachments of two journal entries. Lee Broom.
5 24 2013
“Hey everyone! greetings from africa 🙂 First i love you 🙂 second dont worry
about my health im fine, i actually didnt go to the hospital, i know i know
you think i should but i took the cipro medicine for four days and the
problems stopped so i figured i was fine. Still think i should go if im
feeling fine? maybe you could ask ethan erika? I know you read my journals
and they worry you at times, if you dont want me to send them to you let me
know or else ill keep em coming. Just know that though it is indeed so
terrible and the sadness and the darkness of the world im in, gets at me
everyday, but know also that i fill so fulfilled and my soul is full because
im living my dream of helping people. With the depth of sadness and
heartbreak i feel everyday comes the promise of the depth of love and joy
each day as well. There is many wonderful peaceful things that happen here,
but i dont write as much about them because they are simple and personal and
not things that can be written about and understood if you havnt seen them
first hand, but know that they are happening. its not all blood and guts and
sadness, though there is much of that, there is much love as well, the kind
that cant be explained over emails or letters or even words, but know i am
happy holding them in my heart.
Loving you 🙂
dwell well today in the blessing of you. ”
Journal page from 5 19 2013
Baraka za Mungu: A gift from God.
This Sunday I went to church with the boys. I took a boda to pca like usual, sat there and drank the water like porridge with the boys for breakfast ( they get really upset if you don’t eat when they offer it to you). It always amazes me. No matter how little they have eaten that day, the moment they get food they come up to me and say Eat! I always refuse because the boys are almost starving as it is and obviously im not going to take the little food they do have, but I actually made a little kid cry this week because I refused his food. He sobbed saying why wont you share my food I thought we were friends. I then grabbed a handful of mush and shoved it in my mouth and he smiled.
When going to church we usually walk about 30 minutes through the slums and the crowded city, but today we went around the slums. All along the way there were crippled people begging for money. People with limbs missing and people with body parts that looked like they would be better off if they were missing. People with faces scared by some story no one wants to remember and no one wants to hear. There was a young girl, skin and bones, she looked like she had just walked out of a concentration camp. Her shirt was off exposing her cut and beaten chest, it look like someone had just sliced into her with knives. Most of her right breast was missing and on the other she was nursing a newly born baby. I noticed that I had slowed down when seeing the girl and her baby and rushed to catch up with the boys. As I looked up I saw them all huddled in a big group and I thought maybe they were fighting but as I pushed my way to the middle of their circle I found them emptying their pockets, giving all the money in the world that they had, and thus their food for the days to follow, and putting it into the small hands of a little boy who looked no older than 2 and ½ years. After giving the boy their change they each bent down and connected with the boy in their own ways. Some grabbed the little boys head and rested their forehead upon his own closing their eyes, having a moment of silence for the trials he was going to face, because each of these boys sometime in their lives had been in the same position. Unwanted and alone. Some of the boys kissed the little childs forehead as they passed, and some simply put their hand on his head mumbling something in Ugandan that I couldn’t understand.
That moment, that is what God is.
It was one of those moments that, nomatter how much wickeness and hatred and terrible things you see, bears testimony of the goodness in the world.
My heart was humbled by what I have seen today.”
Journal page from 5 21 2013
“Today was nice. I sat hidden in the long African grasses with the children from mango orphanage, reading books to the little ones and helping the older boys with their homework. The slums seemed to be farther away today, a different country than the peaceful beautiful Africa I was a part of today, tucked away in the quiet hills. The villagers and children played the drums and taught us how to dance according to their traditional local tribes. I felt the rhythm of the drums pound through my heart and my body echoed a story that’s been told for thousands of years by feet and hands much darker than mine. I spent time in the little hut of a kitchen, laughing and cooking pojo and beans with rose the cook, and getting my hair braided like a true African. I marked the orange dirt soccer fields with my energy and my footprints and even scored some goals running back to my team members with my hands in the air, only to be embraced and lifted to the sky by the boys in excitement. Today I saw Africa as it was in the movies, with women sitting by the wells laughing and washing their clothes, healthy happy boys supporting each other and wresting each other in joy, not in hate. It was a beautiful day in Africa.
An incredible story. ( if you don’t like sad things I would pass this section up)
Mango orphanage is a part of pca, but it is the next step up. All the kids there are being sponsored to go to school, all their clothes, food, medical supplies and so forth are paid for. They are responsible respectful and grateful children. I was sitting in the grass under the shade of a tree you would recognize from a shot out of the lion king movie, with Kiza, an incredible bright eyed adventurous humble boy, or rather young man I should say. I was helping him with his homework when I looked down and saw a large scar on his leg. I voiced my curiosity asking him the story behind his wound. “ I got it when I tried to escape form prison.” He said. As we sat in the grass he told me his story, he revealed his darkest moments allowing me to share in the carrying of the smallest bit of the burden his memories held. Here is his story.
‘ I lived with my mother and father, but one day my father brought home a new woman from congo. He looked at my mother and told here to leave, that this was no longer her home, no longer her family, that this woman would now be his new wife. My mother left, and that day was the last I would ever see her. Life went on, I was attending school but soon my father stopped paying school fees and told me I had to stay home and work, I was sad about that, because I loved school and worked very hard at it, I was a good student. Upon returning home from playing soccer one day my father was waiting in the front yard, I ran to meet him and to go inside to prepare for dinner. He grabbed my shoulder looked me in the eyes and said, I don’t want you any more, you are no longer my son. Get out. I was confused and hurt I tried to talk to him but the scent of alcohol on his breath was enough to know if I didn’t go now, I may not survive the beating that followed. I had very little money and with it I traveled to Kampala, ending up living on the streets of the slums. One night the police found me, I wasn’t quick enough to escape this night and they hauled me off to the prison where they take boys like me because we shouldn’t be sleeping on the streets. We are taken away to be punished for our poverty, as if poverty itself wasn’t punishment enough. Everyday in prison they made us wake up very early, we were not given any food or any water until late at night when we were finished working. Do you know the food they give to chickens? The stuff they feed to baby chicks? That’s what they fed us. Chicken food. They mixed it with warm water and turned it into a mush. It wasn’t good food. But when that’s all you have, you are thankful for it. They never gave us water, if you wanted water you had to drink from the dirty swamps during the day when the gaurds weren’t looking. “ Did a lot of boys die there I asked him. “ yes. every day boys would die. They would die because they were just so thirsty, or too tired to get up because we were being forced to work so hard, but the moment you collapsed from weakness, the gaurds would beat you until you got up or until you died. Nomatter what, I did not stop digging you had to be strong.’ ‘ I think I would have just died there kiza, I wouldn’t have been strong enough. “ “ you would have had no choice but to be strong Dalton. ‘
‘At he end of the day some of us would be assigned to collect our dead brothers from the bottom of the trenches we were digging and drag their bodies away from the work area to dig holes to burry them. They were so weak. They just couldn’t make it because of the way the men treated us. They treated us so badly. ‘
He shook his head in disgust, looking up at the sky, far away from me in the long grass under the tree. He was back in the trenches, back enduring some pain I knew nothing of.
‘ when I was there my head was just thinking such crazy things. Such crazy things.’
Like what? I asked.
He looked down at the ground fiddling with some leaves, and then looked up at me and said ‘When in that prison I started to think. What was my purpose in ever being born? Why did God even want me alive, surely not to die in these trenches or in some dark cell. I would always ask God, what is the purpose in this? ‘
We sat in silence for a time and his voice cracked as he said ‘ I wondered why my mom hadn’t been kind enough to kill me when I was little so that I didn’t have to go through such terrible terrible things. I wished that she had killed me the moment I had been born. I only wished every day to die. How could I die. How soon would I die. Couldn’t I just die.
One night I got so sick of it, I decided to try and escape, I was half crazy but me and my friends made a run for the wall and tried to climb over it. I got this scar because my leg got caught in the razor wire and as I slid down the wall I cut it on the rough stones. The policemen shot my friends with bullets. I saw them fall to the ground. But they didn’t kill me, they drug me into a cell and beat me all night long. They shoved their batons into my wounded leg and repeatedly hit that spot over and over. ‘
After another moment of long silence he said ‘I was sentenced to 8 more months of prison because my attempt to escape. After six months I decided to escape again and did so with success. I found myself back on the streets of the slums, there was no where else to go. The day I got away was a Tuesday, and that Friday night the police from a different prison found me and took me to another prison. I thought to myself, I just cant do it. My leg was still wounded and infected, I could barely walk as it was, but after two months there I managed to escape and after a time uncle paul found me and took me to pca. It was a very bad time. But here I am, and indeed God has a purpose for me.
I am going to be the best student at my school and study the very hardest so that one day I can do something for the boys on the streets. Im going to do something so that they never have to go through what I had to go through, and in that way I am going to get my revenge on those police men.’
Each day I hear stories like this, I sit with the boys and see the scares on their legs and their backs and behind their eyes. I see the blood encrusted in their black curly hair and I see the unfairness of the world written on their backs in stripes. Though its real to me, though I see it every single day, the so many do not, and I just wonder how long until the world sees that their blood is red and real and staining the earth. How long until these boys stop walking around as ghosts and instead walk around as the purpose they were sent here to be. How many more 12 year old boys will have to dig graves for their brothers and friends, and how many more cries will go unheard before the prison cells of Uganda are emptied of the innocence they have captured?
How I pray every night that it is soon.”