I read most of this chapter of Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption with tears in my eyes.
Entitled “Three Thousand Friends,” Katie Davis describes what happens when she visits Masese, the sprawling slum outside of her Ugandan town of Jinja. The slum is adjacent to Jinja’s landfill. Most of the people who live there are the Karimojong, a people whose homeland is in northern Uganda near the border with Sudan. A people who were forced to flee their homeland because of war and famine. A people who live in poverty and squalor, who are feared and marginalized, who survive but scavenging the landfill, brewing alcohol and prostitution.
Katie finds a way in. And she writes: “the harsh accents and tribal jewelry of these new people intrigued me, but what grabbed my attention most was the sheer poverty of this place. I had experienced squalor before, but this was unlike anything I had ever seen. Some appeared to be starving to death, literally. Children were covered with deep infected wounds, fungus and other sores, with their bellies round and distended because of worms and their skin pale and peeling because of severe malnutrition.”
We do not know poverty like this in the United States.
She returns with food, and is nearly mobbed by hungry people. She’s eventually able to set up food distribution five days a week through a nearby school. She organizes 20 women into a craft collective, making necklaces that are shipped to the United States for sale. The women make enough to feed their families and put some aside in savings.
In Masese, a little bit of money goes a long, long way. Things happen. Children get fed. Children can go to school. Money can be saved for the future. Women can do honorable work.
For a number of years, my family sponsored a little boy in southwestern Kenya through World Vision. The money we gave was almost insignificant – less than the cost of one meal eaten out – but it was sufficient to provide an education, school clothes, books, meals and other support. From time to time we gave a little extra, and his family bought cows, goats and clothes for the other children.
The project eventually was completed and our sponsorship ended. We’re now sponsoring two little girls through our church missions program, one in India and one in Kenya. For the cost of both my wife and eating out one time in a month, those little girls get clothes, food, an education and a roof over their heads. And they get love.
A little foes a long, long way. Ask Katie Davis.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing Kisses from Katie. To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Sarah’s site, Living Between the Lines.
It is truly amazing, Glynn, how little it takes to truly improve the lives of those in third world countries. Loved your post here!
Whether it is a little money or a little love... it is amazing how a little effort on our part can make an impact in the lives of those around us.
I would like to meet Katie -- and you and your wife! You all have something in common. You share grace where ever you are, however you can.
You are beautiful.
I was looking into the word compassion lately, and how it's roots spell out together-suffer. Together plus suffer equals something of a miracle.
We aren't called to determine what we give or to whom, we are just responsible to live out His love. I'm amazed how we can get so turned around that we won't do such an "insignificant" thing to help someone. Jesus took a little lunch and fed 5,000. He likes to take little things and do much with them. Thanks Glynn.
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