Life Against All Odds
Carmen’s 2nd trip blog from Africa
Over the past few weeks I have had the enormous pleasure of meeting some of the most hospitable people on the globe. In response to my “hello” or “greetings,” I keep receiving the words, “Welcome, welcome,” from warm, expressive faces. Beneath the sincere salutations and gleaming white smiles is something even more beautiful: incredible tenacity and fortitude. Each day I’ve been meeting people who live each day in circumstances that I myself would have considered hopeless. All these things are making it very easy for me to fall in love with this place and its people!
Let me tell you about one of these amazing people.
Mawazi was born in central Uganda 35 years ago. As a toddler he contracted polio, a disease that, even at that time, had long been eradicated from most of the world. One small vaccination could have prevented his infection, but Mawazi’s family was too poor to pay for it, and certainly too poor for the surgery or therapy that would have enabled him to walk upright.
Today, Mawazi deals with his disability with 2 pairs of sandals; one for his hands and one for his all-but-useless feet. After receiving his warm African welcome, Mawazi shared with me his recent experiences working as a community organizer for a local center for special needs children (a Heaven’s Family partner). Much of his day is spent going through the rural villages of Uganda seeking out disabled children who have been hidden away from public view.
He went on to tell me about the challenges affecting families dealing with special needs children: embarrassment, superstition, lack of healthcare, poverty and abandonment, to name a few. I soon realized that this man, scooting around on hands and knees, is thrilled to be their voice and advocate—did I mention tenacity and fortitude? Not much more for me to say than WOW.
Mawazi’s employment and outreach are possible through your contributions to the Disabilities Ministry, and I am so glad you have trusted me to represent your interests across the world.
As I close this communique I hear, Attendants, please prepare the cabin for arrival, as my plane makes its final descent. As my trip comes to an end, I want to assure you that the Disabilities Ministry is working hard in Africa on your behalf to transform lives—both inside and out—and change the world’s perceptions about the disabled.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support, and for accompanying me on this journey to help the “least of these.” I pray you discover God’s will for your life daily; I ask for your prayers as I continue to press on.
Please stay tuned for my next update about survivors of acid attacks. It’s going to be a tough one, but the Lord’s grace is sufficient to see us through.
Lead and be Led,
Director, Disabilities Ministry