Every Wednesday, the church has a sewing and beading class to help the ladies to strengthen their social-econoimcal situation. Since I am not a big fan of sewing (or beading), I usually read while my wife, Tam Wai Jia, mingle with the ladies.
Sometimes we do wonder if this will really make an impact to their lives. Is this what it means to alleviate poverty? Somtimes we do get discouraged and wonder if this will amount to anything.
But last Wednesday I learnt something new from this ‘hanging out’ with the church ladies. I overheard the ladies asking Wai Jia personal questions. Some asked them how our lives are like in Singapore (or Canada). They laughed and joked about some observations they noticed about Mzungus (foriegners). Some even confided to her their health concerns. I realized from Wai Jia’s interaction with the ladies that these gatherings are more than about gaining a skill or a trade. They are about building friendships.
‘Helping’ isn’t just a matter of completing a project or handling money. There’s more to it than that. It means journeying alongside and walking together step by step. There will be ups and downs. There will be joys and disappointments. There will be doubts and uncertainties. But what it will not lack is hope.
There’s an inherent nature in us to desire change. Usually it is for something greater and grander. Yet, some of the most touching moments in this part of our lives in Uganda is just spending time in these ‘hang outs’ to understand, to connect, and to love one another as friends.