During my January 2019 visit to Uganda Ivan and I did several child home visits for a variety of reasons. Whether we were visiting a sick baby, ensuring that construction work had commenced for a new goat pen, collecting missing report cards, setting up solar lighting, or checking on the safety of our child’s living situation we were welcomed most enthusiastically. These are charming characteristics of Ugandan culture – a high value of community, the honor they place on having guests and the warm hospitality each guest is given.
“You are welcome!” they exclaim with delight racing to you before you even reach the door as if they have been searching the horizon for you. If they have been prepared for your visit their mud homes are swept clean and the children are scrubbed too, wearing their Sunday clothes. Prepared or not, you are invited in and you are ushered to one of the few chairs they own. They sit on mats on their dirt floors smiling up expectantly at you. Even the poorest among them offers you a banana or a drink of the local Bushera made with sorghum grains. Over and over they thank you for the honor of visiting their home as if you are some kind of royalty who has graced them with your presence.
To me, an American from Chicagoland suburbs, this stands in stark contrast to our culture. Only the best of friends feels comfortable “dropping by” unexpectedly. If you are busy or have an appointment, company is expected to know you cannot visit as your schedule takes precedent. Although most Americans will offer their guests food or water they assume their unexpected guests will leave before meal time. Most certainly they would not think of spending the night. But in Uganda unexpected guests can drop by and expect to be hosted for weeks on end. The hosts would be considered rude to ask for their guest’s future plans or exit date. We at MCM want to imitate that Ugandan cultural posture which is so welcoming and focused on our guests. We have completed God’s Refuge Guest House. We know the best way to get to really know your sponsored child or MCM is to experience it for yourself. So start planning now…you are welcome!
A special “Thank You!” to all who have blessed us with the resources to finish this Refuge. We currently have 4 children living there who come from abusive homes. We Thank God for being able to provide for the unsafe children in our community because of your generosity.
Blessings ~michele 🙂