Hello! My name is Jessica (or "Jesca" if you are Ugandan) and I am one of the contributors to Jireh's blog. I got involved with Jireh after Pastor Grace came to visit San Diego in 2006. Seeing the pictures of the children and hearing his vision, my heart was tugged. Needless to say, I'm still involved with Jireh, and took some time off from my career (I'm a software engineer) to spend last summer in Uganda at the Children's Centre. I help Adam with website and sometimes write for the blogs and newsletters and whatnot
but sometimes it feels like there's so much more that needs to be done...so much more that could be done. As I try to fall asleep smiling five year olds who need a bath and who are going to bed hungry drift in and out of my mind. I know the foundation, through the sponsorship program, fledgling and new though it may be, has done so much, because when I first met Pastor the children were being fed every other day. Yes, that's right, every other day. Can you imagine if you were only fed every other day? Maybe not. And the teachers weren't getting paid their salaries at all. They were having a hard time retaining staff without money to pay the staff.
But when I went there last summer, I saw teachers getting paid--not their meager salary in full, but a good downpayment on their salary. I saw the children living at the childrens center were getting fed two to three meals a day. Not glamorous meals. Its mostly things like millet or rice porridge, beans, and Posho (a bland rice-like mixture made out of maize flour) as the bulk of their diet. Kids were occasionally having stomach problems because of the repetition without variation in their diets, and perhaps the lackings of nutrients from vegetables (though they do have Juice Plus vegetable-vitamins that the foundation has been coordinating sending over to help with this!).
But I still saw day scholars going hungry, starving little hands reaching out to me, begging for another bite of my lunch that I hadn't the stomach to eat myself. "We just don't have the money to feed them too"--it breaks your heart to hear and see...but at the same time, it gives me so much hope that I have the personal opportunity to love sacrificially to help change that...even I'm alone in the battle.
But I know I'm not. Every one more sponsor means kids being fed better, means a teacher has enough income to buy her young child juice when its sick rather than just drinking boiled swamp water. $28 goes a lot farther in Uganda than it does here, it buys a lot of food. Thank you to everyone who is already sponsoring children or making contributions through the foundation, may you remember what a difference you're making!