There was the tightness in my throat as I slowly, step by step, followed him on the path that leads out from his house. As I walked I was also remembering the emotion that gripped me as I fought back tears when he first cried in opposition. Tears of realization that in a moment life and the way it’s been lived would change drastically from all that’s been known. He was gone making mud for the mudding of someone else’s house when we proposed the idea to Jajja and the Aunties who happened to be paying a visit when we arrived. They were immediately supportive of the idea of bringing Sam from Jajja’s house to our own.
Sam is a classsmate of Toby’s, but more importantly, he is the younger brother of Nabukeera, our daughter whom we have sponsored since about 1999. This is not a quick decision on our part, but one we’ve committed to prayer and discussion with Nabukeera and the childcare department. Sam is 12 years old and has not had parental oversight other than Jajja for more than the past five years. She would be the first to tell you that she is not one to discipline the children or call them to account. She has admitted as much to us. In addition, Jajja’s eyesight is failing and she is unable to get around very easily. She requires the help of someone to fetch water, dig in the garden and cook. There are other children around and the occasional aunties who come to visit, but Sam himself had not shown dedication for these responsibilities for some months now. We saw him growing older, yet less mature. It is a tough decision to choose between the REAL needs of a young boy (beyond mere survival) and the elder Jajja who requires the help of someone to merely survive. But, the choice had to be made. Sam needs a father to lead, guide, teach and discipline him. Sam needs someone to hold him to account for his actions and inaction. He needs to be shown how to come up to what he is capable of and to reach for fulfillment of the destiny God has for him. Jajja wants those things for him and cannot give what she knows is needed. Nabukeera echoed as much when we talked with her quite a few weeks ago about bringing him in to live with us.
And so, as of last night, we have a new family member. All of his belongings fit into a moderately sized backpack and a small school bag. Toby and Geoff got him settled in the bedroom and showed him how to use the bathroom shower and toilet. At the dinner table, we ate beans and rice and he was mostly quiet as we explained the routine and few rules of the household. After dinner, the kids showed him how to play Skip Bo. At bedtime, he asked for a toothbrush and we showed him how to use the faucet in the bathroom, but warned him not to drink the water. The kids brushed their teeth together and laughed and joked as they made their way to their beds.
This morning Sam reported that he had slept well. We ate a breakfast of fresh fruit and bread with tea. Probably not the breakfast he is used to, but one of many adjustments he will have to make. Geoff read from Isaiah 55, “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
|Sam, in the blue shirt, flanked with friends at David Family|
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” . . . and I wonder what he thinks of our fare, and I pray that he comes to know the abundance that God gives in Spirit.