A lot happened today (Tuesday, July 10, 2013) in Uganda. Visits with recovering alcohol and drug addicts, a follow-through and medical intervention with a boy named George who yesterday we thought was dying (it’s looking more hopeful today), and two of our team members assisting in some pretty intense births. All in a day’s work here with Loving One by One.
For this blog, however, I’m going to focus on our afternoon visit to the Bless a Child Foundation. The Bless a Child Foundation specializes in providing a temporary home and support to children with cancer and their families. Specifically, they have a large house near one of the hospitals here in Kampala, and when children come to Kampala from whatever villages they come from, the BAC Foundation provides them with a place to stay during treatment including all meals, and helps to arrange surgeries and other treatment. In many cases, the BAC Foundation provides financial assistance for treatment and other expenses.
There’s so much to say about this place and its founder and director, Bryan Walusimbi. I hope to have a longer conversation with him within the next several days so that I can be part of telling his story more completely. But here’s the quick scoop….
Several years ago, Bryan (now 32) decided he needed to try to do something for a child struggling with cancer, as well as that child’s family. Out of his own resources, he paid for treatment, for a place to stay near the hospital during treatment, and he continued to follow through with this family until the treatment was successfully completed.
Like many other people who just try to do one good thing, Bryan quickly saw that the need for this kind of help was overwhelming, and soon the Bless a Child Foundation was formed. I need to point out – Bryan still continues to pay for this ministry almost completely out of his own pocket. His real job? Bryan is a clown, performing at high-end parties and functions. His clientele are among the wealthy and elite of Uganda, including high-level government leadership. With that clientele, he can demand a high price for his entertainment and since his clients understand what he does with the money, they frequently give him more than he asks.
When we spent a few hours hanging out with Bryan and some of the kids and parents at the Bless a Child Foundation house today, I immediately connected with this guy. Maybe because in addition to being an impressive leader and creative worker, he’s a major smart aleck. He and I have that in common.
Bryan and I had a long conversation today, and he agreed to talk with me further before I leave Uganda next week, so that I can get his story in more detail. When that happens, I’ll be excited to be part of sharing that story.