We've got a friend in town named Paul who works with NEFHCOD, a small local NGO that was just started up in October of 08. Great guy and hard working. NEFHCOD, being brand new, has no funding and is mainly comprised of community volunteers. However, there are some full(er) time employees doing various work. Paul's one of them and mans the office in town, serving as the administrator for the office and taking in help requests. We've been able to partner ourselves (KCC) up with NEFHCOD in a few ways - for one, all of our community loans applicants are now required to take some business classes which are handled by NEFHCOD. Another is that once a borehole repair is completed, NEFHCOD swoops in with some follow up training and sensitization materials to educate the community about health and maintenance and all other issues that are applicable to their newly repaired water source. Paul is kind of the go-to guy for all of these activities and more.
The thing is that he doesn't get paid. Like I said, they're a brand new NGO, and a local one at that, and so far finding funding has been incredibly difficult. They're organized and have a great work-plan, but expecting people like Paul to hang around and do the work being done with no compensation seems like a tall order. At least from my Canadian perspective.
Paul just left our house, saying that it has been tough but that he enjoys the work and will just keep pushing forward until the end of the year, and hopefully some money will come of it. He's confided in me earlier that he doesn't care for the money at all but instead just wants to serve the people and make a difference in his country. Man... what a fantastic attitude to have. I don't want to overly expose Paul here, but his attitude is nothing short of dumbfounding when you realize that he makes zero money and gives everything he has, though he has barely enough to eat and his house is little more than a tiny storage room. People like him put everything into perspective for me and make me realize how much more there is to give everyone here. I just pray for the strength to be able to do it, day by day, without collapsing. Unfortunately I've proven to be weaker than I thought and some days it feels like there's nothing more to give.
So it's conversations like the one I just had that give me a boost and slam everything back into perspective. The key words he spoke tonight were more than just his descriptions of living a life I want to model, giving everything while having nothing. More encouraging than that, and I hope this doesn't sound like I'm giving myself a pat on the back, but he just gave me hope by defining an action I've always hoped to be able to have a part in in someone's life. Paul's a new christian.
We'd sat in his office a long time ago. Over the weeks we had become friends, and one day after finding out that he was a catholic I jokingly told him that he should switch sides - become a christian. We chatted about it a bit and what it meant, but it really was just casual conversation. Even that small thing I said combined with everything else he had heard, pastors in the town telling him to get Jesus... yeah, he took the step, did his homework, decided it was right, and found a pastor to seal the deal. Now he's asked to be baptized. No idea if he meant by me or not just yet, and I'm not exactly thrilled to go wading into a river teeming with you-don't-want-to-know and the rare hippopotamous, but I'd do it in a heartbeat.
When you feel a bit down, I don't think I could imagine a better pick-me-up than what he told me tonight.
Anyway, life continues here in Ug. We'd appreciate your continued prayer support while we're here as school is about to ramp up again, people are continuing to be incredibly needy, water sources continue to break, and we continue to do the things we do.