A Dad Named Tom…

It was mid morning, day 2 of the children being back in school. I had just passed through the gate of the property where I stay when a man walking up the road greeted me. He said…’ Please, I have heard about you… that you help orphans. Please, I am taking care of 5 orphans and I ask for your help. My sister died and left 5 children. Their father is also dead. They all live with me, my wife and our 3 children. I cannot put any of my sister’s children into school. There is no free primary school here. The fees charged within the city limits of Mbale for ‘Universal Primary School’ are several thousand shillings per term per child, and the children are all in need of uniforms costing 10,000 each. They have no shoes, socks, books, pens or back packs. I was told about you by a woman, a friend of mine who works at the NGO where you have been. Please can you help us.’ I looked over and saw 3 children standing in the shade up against the corner of a nearby building, all wearing ripped, very dirty clothing, all quietly looking out at him and me.

‘Do you have work?’ I asked him. ‘Yes, I take care of animals for that lady over there, I am paid 30,000 shillings per month. I have worked there for 20 years. I asked for 50,000 but she says that is too much. I am able to afford school for my one child of age, and food and shelter for us all but I cannot pay for my sister’s children to go to school.’ ‘What is your name?’ I asked this well spoken man. ‘I am Tom’. ‘Ah, the name my father was called’ I told him. ‘Let us meet again later today and we will discuss how to create a plan to take the children to school Tom’. ‘Kali Mama, Kali’(Ok Mama, Ok).

Tom came over later when I returned home. I learned the names, ages and level at school of his 5 nieces and nephews who range from 6 to 11 years old. I learned that Tom was also orphaned at a young age and completed up to P4 in school until the fee requirements caused him to quit. Tom says he wants to do what he can for his sister’s children, he has a quick mind, has educated himself to speak and understand English well, and he reasons that yes, in the short term we can probably see that the children go to school this year, but in the long run it is necessary to come up with a plan that will help him to create greater income to afford supporting all of the children for the many years of school fees and associated costs that lie ahead. And just like that I am now aware of a man named Tom and 5 orphan children all of whom are asking for our Loving attention and with whom we will find the way to uplift them all into the future.

Every day, at least once, whether at the public market or the NGO, in rural Uganda or walking along the street in Mbale, I am approached by someone who is asking for help. Maybe it is a loaf of bread a man is asking for to feed his family, or it’s a young child selling pineapples on the sidewalk who when questioned why he is not in school says he does not have a uniform and fees or a book or a pen, or it is one of the many people born with limbs askew who lay on the ground outside stores begging for shillings each day or it’s a toughened street child who has not eaten for who knows how long or, like today, it is a printed note asking for help with school fees from a widowed mother of 6, followed by an email an hour later sent to me through this web site from Cameroon, requesting help for a group of orphans…every day, I am asked again and again and again.

And every night, I ask Spirit please continue and continue and continue to teach me to hear with my heart and guide me to answers of Love Love Love…Catherine

WOWOWOWOW!!! The rain just came in a BIG WAY!…accompanied by thunder and very surprisingly, hail too!!! Powerful, loud, creating rivers in the ditches and drenching everything…the parched, dry, dusty, hot, steamy roads, land and people…Ahh! Water!

About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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