As a mommy to three boys (Gideon-9, Abel-6, and Solomon-3) I often hear the phrase, "It's not fair!" That phrase usually occurs in relation to one brother getting a bigger scoop of ice cream, extra screen time, or longer play time with Legos.
Today at Koro Primary School, I saw so many things that made me want to scream, "It's not fair!" Brave young women told me stories of how they are unwanted by their parents. They told me that they are hungry. They told me that they have to work to earn enough money to pay for schooling, and often times that promised money is never given. They told me that after their parents had died, they went to live with relatives who now make them watch younger children instead of going to school. They told me that a big obstacle to finishing P7 (equivalent to 6th/7th grade) is early marriage. After hearing many of those personal stories, the team and I had a chance to tell those brave young women that they are loved, that they have a purpose, that their voice matters, and that there is hope for their future. Our team was able to tangibly give them hope through the power of a hygiene kit that will encourage them to stay in school with a greater sense of dignity and
Later during the day, I saw something that I hope will forever make a difference in my life. Koro Primary School is located on a beautiful plot of land near a community well. Throughout the day, people in the community came to the well to pump water and carry it back to their homes. At one point, I looked up and there was a little boy with a filled jug of water balanced on his head as he walked down a path. My husband, Mike, happened to see the boy at the same time I did and said, "Abby, that could be Solomon." I froze. Here was a boy about three-years-old carrying water. I glanced down the path and there was another boy a few years older also carrying water-that could be Abel. Then, I saw a third boy a few more years older carrying water-that could be Gideon. And finally, I saw a mother following her three sons also carrying water-that could be me. As I captured the moment and let it sink in, I recognized that they were obviously carrying out a daily chore. But, I also realized that the older boys were of school age and yet weren't in school. Instead, they were carrying water from a community well through a school yard. I am struggling with that image that I won't be forgetting any time soon.
How can our lives be so alike and yet so different all at the same time? How does this mother feel to lack the resources to provide an education for her sons? How do those boys feel walking through a school yard of their peers and not have the same opportunities?
As overwhelming as that scenario is for me to digest, I'm so proud that Fields of Dreams Uganda has a desire to make things "fair" for all children. Through our education and soccer programming at our schools and in the community, we are planting seeds of hope that will one day take root and begin to even the playing field for children everywhere.