Last week, while Phil was in Uganda, he spoke to one of the widows that received a Christmas Hamper…
It’s possible that your downstairs toilet is bigger than Dorothy’s home. And it’s equally possible that your garden shed would offer more comfort as a bedroom. As I sat and talked with Dorothy last week, and then clipped a microphone to her and pointed a camcorder toward her, I felt very, very awkward. It seemed like a bizarre collision of two worlds. The filmed interview was conducted in the local language, I’m yet to listen to the translation, but from the few words I could pick up I knew she was expressing nothing but gratitude. “Webale, webale, webale” she kept saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you”.
Dorothy, undoubtedly one of the poorest people in the world, was one of the 50 widows who received a Christmas Hamper following our ‘Just One More’ Christmas campaign. Thanks to your generosity we raised twice as much money than we expected to. This meant that the hampers were bigger than we had initially planned, and more widows received one.
As I filmed Dorothy, I hoped that this wasn’t so much a collision of two worlds, but a connection of two worlds. If you gave money so a widow could receive a hamper, your Christmas connected with their Christmas. You’re story connected with their story.
I had the privilege of hearing story after story of widows who had enjoyed their most joyous Christmas for years. I never got bored of being told how they had felt noticed / cared for / loved for the first time in a long time.
But, not all this is down to you! It’s also because of a group of members of Busolwe Pentecostal Church. The ethos of a little bit of HOPE is to always work with local groups when developing and implementing projects. Therefore, it was the church members who worked hard to ensure the hampers were distributed. It was them who chatted with the widows and it was this, as well as the food, that brightened their Christmas.
The Christmas Hampers are not the end. They were simply a launch pad for Busolwe Pentecostal Church and a little bit of HOPE to continue to support the widows who live in the village of Bugosa. Over the coming months church members will regularly visit Dorothy and the other widows. As they build friendships with them they’ll identify immediate needs (e.g. whether they lack blankets or have a leaky roof) and come up with a plan of action (probably revolving around establishing small groups of widows) on how we can enable these widows to support themselves.
This is one of our two ‘headline’ programmes this year; we’ll tell you about the other one in our next email.