As part of a future project, stories were gathered, and over 100 children were interviewed at the Paul Devlin School in Fort Portal. This was part of an effort to empower the children to tell their own stories, and create their own narratives.
At first glance the stories read like lists of facts. They are written without decorative language and unnecessary embellishments. When Sharon Buss, a Canadian teacher with a 40 year career in education, read through some of the stories, she found them to be an incredibly honest mix of both devastating life experiences and sweet innocence, free of any pretense. Sharon points out that these are stories of truth, and as such they are incredibly moving reflections of life as a child in rural Uganda. The stories, which were written by children who have experienced countless challenges and obstacles, are totally absent of complaints or ego. The children write about themselves and their lives as they truly are, without worry about how others may see them.
As sad as some of the stories are, they highlight the gift of honesty, humility, and authenticity that is so easily lost to us on this side of the world. They remind us of what we miss when we get too wrapped up in how others perceive us, our things, our wants, and our “STUFF”. We strive to have more and more, feel driven to get approval from others, and can never get enough it seems.
In Uganda life can be so difficult for many children. Through their stories we learn that we can all find joy in the simplest of things. Joy resides in the grace and kindness of others, the opportunity to go to school, a meal, access to medical care, and a God who loves us.
Now that is a BEAUTIFUL story!