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“I laid in bed and was awake thinking about how incredible the lunch went.”

The fourth went off with a bang! The day started off with our daily devotion, followed by Rhino Kid's Camp all while the usual construction, medical and training teams continued their work. 

Today was the second day for Emezza with another smaller group of four traveling to the Ekanisa zones, about 45 minutes away from the school. 

For Penny Crain, a returning mission trip member, it was the second time she would be visiting her three sponsor kids but in very contrasting circumstances. 

Last year was Penny’s first trip to Uganda when she first met her second family. She was a part of the sponsorship team in 2017 that went out into the community to interview potential students eager for sponsorship. It was at the small stick-built church in Lukya where she met Regina and Hanita, two shy but incredibly sweet little girls that captured her heart. Later that same afternoon she had the opportunity to visit the girls’ home nearby and to our surprise there was a little boy named Savior in the doorway who had stayed behind so his sisters could have a better chance of attending school. There were torn 2’ square foam pieces in the yard, we were told the youngest had wet the bed so they were out to dry; a scene Penny could never forget. When she was invited into the home the translator began to unravel the mother’s incredible story. As a single mother she tried to support and sustain her family through gardening, which the kids also worked in since at the time they did not attend school. The mother is also HIV positive, although the kids did not transmit the disease. Their father went to the city for work but never returned so the mother and kids live in the abandoned house of her in-laws, ever fearful of being evicted. 

Penny’s heart felt so much and was captivated immediately. She wanted to sponsor all three kids to send them to school. 

Fast forward to this year on the fourth of the July, Penny returned to their home for Emezza, a shared meal in the community. ‘Momma Penny’, as they call her, was welcomed with smiling faces and warm hugs as the kids barreled out of the curtained door. Their enthusiasm was tangible! The mother slowly walked with a small blanketed bundle, a 3-week old boy named David. She passed the baby to Penny and hugged her tightly with tears welling in both of their eyes. 

“The kids were so quiet and I wasn't sure if any of them spoke English, none of them smiled or played before. But this year, they’re so confident, they laugh and play with their classmates and they’re so appreciative.”

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