In 2010 a met a young man named Gad. He told me he had brothers that attended the school I was about to visit in Kishanje, a mountainous village. So, when I was there, I met one of those brothers: Rauben. When I met him, I asked him how he was doing on his exams that week. He put his head down, clearly not wanting to talk about it. Eventually I determined that he had lost his sponsor, so he was not living on campus like most students. By the time he walked down the hills (that take me an hour at least), and did chores at home, it was after dark. He didn’t have the money to buy candles (that cost 10 cents) in order to have light to study. As a result, he was not proud of his results in school. When I went home, I couldn’t get Rauben out of my head. After much prayer, I ended up choosing to sponsor him.
Last week I was able to spend some time with my little brother. Now he is doing well in school, involved in leading chapel, and usually plays the drums during worship. Several of his good friends came up to me when we arrived, asking if I’d seen Rauben yet, because they knew he had been looking forward to seeing me again. In 2011, when I was here, he joked that he would start gathering stones to build me a house in this village. So, last week I asked Rauben how my house was coming, and he told me he has been making bricks. I didn’t believe him, but he kept insisting that when I went down to visit his mother I would see them.
One day a few team members and I did some home visits with the students’ social worker, Claire. When we went to see Rauben’s family, I got to meet his newest nephew who is still a baby. He enjoyed playing with my shiny silver earring, and was so sweet. Sometimes babies here are scared of white people, so I’m always excited when I can enjoy holding and playing with a little one. We were sent home with a basket full of ears of corn to share at the house for dinner—a picture of Uganda’s hospitality! But before we left, Rauben showed me his stockpile of bricks. Next to his mother’s home is a house of an uncle who has passed away many years ago, and he has been packing it with bricks. Rauben says they are for my house…but I can’t really tell if he is serious or joking! So, in a few years I may just have a village home. He has even said he will work on making that footpath into a road for a car—of course that will take some time!
Check out this short video with footage of the actual bricks:
Rauben’s Bricks from Lisa O'Brien on Vimeo.
I have been sponsoring Rauben for about three years now. Two years ago, when I visited, he told me he was going to build me a house in his small village. Here's the update.