ChurchOutdoor

The face of the little child jumping at my phone, with his eyes lit so bright I almost gave it to them. Joy, true joy. Life, real life. I reached out and took a selfie. To date, I still gaze at that photo. For me, it speaks volumes. It tells of a story so rich, society has engraved these voices in stone and attempted to discriminate against these children.

We visited the Uganda School of Spastics (Formerly known as Kampala School of the Physically Handicapped): A school dedicated to teaching children with special needs. Some had mental incapacitation whereas others struggled with movement and I think there was an issue of nerves. I am trying to be cautious with my language because I learnt while at campus that it is wrong to call them “disabled”. These children are not disabled but are “Persons with Disabilities” (PwD’s).Across the globe, society, especially in Africa has labelled them “kasilu” translated to mean “the stupid ones” among other similarly derogatory terms. Perhaps some struggle with arriving at an apt description of these children because this is the only language and terminology they know. A sad and bitter reality indeed.

 

The 26th of June 2016 saw these walls come crumbling as the youth at All Saints’ Cathedral Kampala took to the bus and stretched out a hand, to share love with children that have mostly been abandoned by a parent(s). We laughed and sang, danced and dined, played and echoed aloud melodies of harmony. It was a time of reconnection and purpose. A time to give of the joy – joy – joy – joy down in our hearts (just like the nursery rhyme). It was beautiful.

Allow me now tell of the battles that tormented my feeble mind while the planning ensued. #ChurchOutdoor was an idea born at the start of the year and it was pretty ambitious of us I must say. It had never been done, to go out as a service and have “Church” outdoors, sharing with those in our most immediate community. The thousands (or should I say hundreds) of youth at All Saints’ Cathedral stem majorly from middle income families upwards, and have probably never had an experience of outreach.

We debated on where we should go and what we should do. At some point all seemed vague like a train quickly fading. “Could this come to pass?!” we often wondered. We zeroed down on visiting two places; Mulago Hospital (Orthopedic ward) and Uganda School of Spastics in Mengo, but the communication and necessary authorizations dragged their feet week after week.

A team was set up and with this we steered clear of the boulders sent our way. Allow me give special credit to Alice Nakato, Edgar Ntwali, Bless Magezi, Joseph Muramuzi, Jean Kukunda, Timothy Mwesigwa and Spacy Ajok. They masterminded everything and fought tirelessly to see this day come alive.

It is barely a week since we visited Mulago Hospital, and sad news fell upon us like a tornado. Alice Nakato lost her little sister Mimi aged 12years old. She succumbed to a long battle with sickle cells. The stories about her tell of a love for other patients and a belief that they would be better. No wonder Alice has worked with Rubaga hospital before and championed the visit to Mulago Orthopedic ward. Her sister’s legacy lives on.

I encourage all out there that life is best lived when shared. Society is more beautiful when considered as “one” and finally all children are children. Let us spare time and love on others, love on your neighbours and their families. Join in an outreach drive and your life will surely be blessed.

I remember one saying that “I doubt you will have more than 15 (fifteen) people register”. Alas or should I say viola, it was a number too small; we clocked close to 100 (One Hundred) youth participating on D-day. This was only the first step and next time it will be bigger and better. Kudos to everyone and Kudos to God the author and ‘perfector’ of everything. #ChurchOutdoor will be back.

 

Brian Kambaho Karogo
#ChurchOutdoor Coordinator
All Saints’ Cathedral Kampala
3PM Service Coordinator

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