As we arrived at the Katuuso project several band members had already congregated by the entrance gate. Dressed smartly in their orange and black uniforms, they launched into a series of tunes as they led the way for us to follow them as they played.
A group of younger children stood in two straight lines forming a pathway for us to walk down. Three of the children held up handmade bracelets with our names on them; one for me, one for Cait and one for lovely Ella from the UK Compassion office who had accompanied us.
A little boy walked over to place my bracelet on my wrist. The bracelet kept slipping away from him. He turned it and held it but each time he tried to fasten it, it would slip from his fingers. Still he kept on. Again the bracelet twisted. Again he picked it back up, held it together and tried. He kept persevering with the fiddly little fastening until the job was done.
These children are no stranger to perseverance.
In an area where unemployment is high, those that are fortunate enough to be able to earn a living as day labourers are lucky to earn the equivalent of only £15 a month. That is £15 to house, feed, clothe, educate and care for your family. That wage doesn’t come anywhere near to even touching any of it.
Simply surviving is a challenge.
When the only home you have is in complete darkness and when the holes in the roof let the rain fall on you.
When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from and your belly is so empty that it no longer even hurts with hunger.
When you are sick and there is nobody to help you and nowhere for you to go.
When you have lost your family because of poverty’s clutches.
When you cannot even go to school because you cannot afford the uniform or the books.
What do these children hear when they are faced with all this every single day without pause?
Poverty tells these children that they will not.
They can not.
They should not even try.
That’s the message poverty brings with it.
You won’t win, it tells them.
You can’t do it.
As I stood watching how this little boy tried and tried to fasten the bracelet around my wrist, I admired his determination and perseverance.
It wasn’t until I later reflected on my day and realised that for these children and their families, every single day is an act of perseverance.
Every day is filled with determination.
Not the kind of determination that we in the UK know.
It’s the determination that enables you to survive.
It is not an option.
It’s a necessity.
But left in the slums, even that dogged determination and resolute perseverance is no guarantee of survival.
For the children at this project in Katuuso and at the other 351 projects throughout Uganda, this is the place where perseverance will pay off.
For the children here, poverty will end.
And that is thanks to their sponsors.
Of the 240 children which attend this particular project, a fantastic 234 of them are already sponsored by people all over the world. This means that only 6 of the children that are registered here are not sponsored. Fancy helping bring that number down? Click here to sponsor a child with Compassion UK and show them that perseverance, determination and the love and support of a sponsor will break the cycle of poverty.
Please feel free to feature or link back to this post so that we can help as many children as possible lift themselves out of poverty.