For Mama Edith's House
Organized by: Kha-ai Nguyen
EVENT DATE Jan 27, 2016
Last spring, I spent three months living in Uganda, and my host family cared for me every single day during that time. They demonstrated patience (endless patience), incredible hospitality, deep commitment to the Church, care for their neighbors, and love for one another. Unfortunately, Mama Edith and the family have fallen on hard times. Out of respect for the family, I cannot divulge all of the details, but I can explain that Mama Edith is trying to scrape together every extra shilling she has to construct a house on her parents' land.
Right now, she is making just enough to pay her four children's school fees and cover the costs of living, and she had to halt construction on the house over a year ago. The next stage of construction involves purchasing 80 metal sheets at 30,000 shillings each, totaling a little over $700, and installing them onto the foundation that Mama Edith has already laid. While Mama Edith does not know when she will have the money to complete construction, the metal sheets will at least protect the foundation that already exists during the rainy seasons. This fundraiser should cover all 80 sheets and any transaction costs for transferring the money internationally.
When Mama Edith first explained her financial situation to me, I felt trapped between a desire to help my family and an understanding that I had to do this the right way. After much prayer and consultation, I have decided to start this fundraiser, but I want to clarify some things.
- I am doing this because my life is now entangled with their lives, and we share memories together. I cannot stand by and do nothing, knowing that I am in a position of worldly power whether I want to admit it or not.
- I hope you will donate because they are sisters and brothers in Christ, not because they are another African family in need.
- This fundraiser is only for the metal sheets for the house (granted a significant portion of the cost), because my relationship with my host family is a partnership and, as such, the house should be a result of combined efforts.
- I cannot promise that this story will have a happy ending, because life happens. It is possible that we will raise all of the money for the sheets, but Mama Edith will never have enough to build the rest of it. It is possible that Mama Edith will finish construction, but she may never find another job with her limited options. Whatever happens, I hope that it is the act of a community coming together for a sister in Christ that is the reward, not the end result.
I want to provide you with descriptions of each of the people in this family, so that you have some sense for the people you are coming alongside.
- Mama Edith and I spent countless nights sitting on the porch outside, talking about interracial relationships, the tension between being committed to one's home and traveling far from home for a greater chance at success, and the differences between American and Ugandan culture.
- Edna (my sister) and I sometimes walked together to school, and whenever she saw me at school, she would make sure to give me a hug and introduce me to her friends. We taught Sunday school together, did our laundry side-by-side, and often made fun of each other.
- I felt a deep closeness to Helen (my other sister) because we were both outsiders of some sort, her because of the loss of her ability to communicate after a childhood disease and me because I came from a different world with a different language.
- Godfrey (my brother) asked me the most insightful questions about my culture and my family, giving me the rare opportunity to express both the positive and negative aspects of the place I call home.
- Jimmy and Tugume (my cousins) kept me company during those long bouts of homesickness, teaching me card games, carrying water from the well with me, and answering my endless questions about their lives.
All of this to say: I consider them a second family, my family across the globe.
I sincerely appreciate you giving what you can to this, and I want to close with a passage from 2 Corinthians 8: "I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich... For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, 'Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'"