I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Pastor Charles Bameka, who is a Lutheran pastor in Kampala, Uganda, and surrounding villages. Charles himself has an amazing story. He was born and raised in Uganda, very poor. He was able to get an education and get a good paying job. He quit his job to become a pastor. Charles does amazing work all throughout southern Uganda. But, this post is not about Charles.
Charles told us the story of a street kid in Jinja, Uganda. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, street kids are typically young, orphaned children. They can be as young as 3 or 4 years old. They literally have no one to take care of them and nowhere to go. They wander the streets searching for work or food. They sleep on the streets. And they’re typically hungry. And not the I-haven’t-eaten-in-6-hours type of hungry we feel in the US. The I-haven’t-had-a-good-meal-in-years type of hungry. Malnourished.
As Charles met this street kid, he asked him where he lived. The child said ‘here’, on the street. Charles asked him if he wanted to go to school. The boy said yes. Charles gave him his phone number and the equivalent of a few pennies – enough to place a phone call, or buy a small meal. He told the boy to call him in 2 days, as he was traveling. Charles thought was simple – if the boy truly wanted to attend school and get off the street, he wouldn’t spend that money on anything else and would save it to make the phone call that could change his life. And he did. Two days later Charles received a phone call. The voice on the other end simply said, “You told me to call you”.