I met this special girl on Saturday July 6 as I returned from a morning coming from a jog. I was tired and sweaty but she caught my eye. I called her like I usually do and she did not verbally respond. She responded with a piercing smile. Thinking she was just fearing me, I held her hand and we went through the gate. As we walked in she saw some bakery boys seated. She started smiling to them too. Soon everyone was trying to communicate with her.
This is when I learned that her name is Divine and she is dumb and deaf. The story of how she got into this state is long. But, apparently everyone in the community knows her because of her daily effort to survive. She lives with her mom who struggles to find basic needs in the day. So, Divine goes around gesturing to people, especially when hungry, with hope of finding a Good Samaritan. Unfortunately not many people understand her language and therefore ignore her and do not want her to keep around their children. Her daily effort brought her to our office. The staff told me that she comes to the bakery every day at different times but when she is very hungry. They always give her two buns and sometimes share their meal with her before she leaves.
Divine is very active and plays like any other child. She struggled to talk with me. She gestured of how she has seen me jogging before. I got everyone to interpret for me. She sat by my side! She looked into my eyes many times. She told us of how she fell down and her dress got torn. She showed me the wounds on her ankles. I struggled to hold my tears! She told me how she is chased away by some people every day. Divine is surely Divine not because my son is Divine but because she is special.
The great news is that Divine now has a sponsor. Two families have stepped up to support her education. Diving will be able to attend a special school. I am so grateful to God and family of friends that are always willing to reach out.
It was dawn on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 when a young woman walked into the office gates. She was weak and wet from the morning dew, and with swollen eyes she asked for Mr. Richard. Through exhausted tears, she shared parts of her story, and revealed her name as Marion. Even before finishing her story, she fell into a much needed sleep.
A few hours later that same day, two more children walked into our Rakai office, 8 year old John and 10 year old Carol. They were desperately hungry and asked for help finding their older sister. As their story unfolded, we learned that their mother had recently died and they were staying with their only sister. But now that sister had disappeared and Carol said, “We need a place to stay and our sister is no more.” It was now dusk, the same day and Marion woke up from her nine hour ‘nap’ while we were still listening to our ‘visitors’ and praying for ways to find any family members who could help. Carol was first to see Marion and she ran quickly to her. They hugged and cried and hugged some more – for you see, Marion was the big sister that Carol feared was “no more”. They had lost their mother two weeks before and survival was very challenging. Their dream for education had been shattered.
Isn’t it amazing how God makes connections?!? The next day, we found temporary homes for each child. And the very next day, Marion started volunteering in our office. We quickly realized Marion’s gifts and potential. As one staff member commented, ‘her smile, energy and enthusiasm are going to be a blessing for this world.’ With God’s guidance, we found several ACT sponsors for Marion so she could continue her education. With much excitement and a grateful heart, Marion started at the University in August 2013.
On February 24, 2017 – exactly 1,422 days later - Marion graduated with a degree in social work and administration. Her smile in this picture is a testimony that her world has been unlocked! Marion is now determined to raise her siblings and help Carol and John get their college degrees also.
One Story – One Life Changed! Marion’s story is a true testimony of what ACT sponsorship can do! Marion is now an equipped leader, ready to serve the community of Rakai, starting with her own family.
Your gifts and sponsorship make a world of difference in the life of one person, one family, one community! THANK YOU!
May God Almighty bless you!