Interning in Uganda: Source of Life

Musa rolled up to the Source Cafe in his wheelchair. He was looking for me. “Savanna,” he said, and he handed me a black journal. It was his story, an outline of a memoir he previously told me he wanted published.

We had met nearly a week ago on a street corner. He approached a fellow intern and I, asking for help in getting a book published. We told him we were running late for dinner and that he could find us at The Source the following Tuesday. He did.

We found an empty table outside the cafe. Musa hopped down off his wheel chair and, with his bent, weak legs, he waddled to a table and jumped onto the chair. He was used to moving around on his own.

I began reading his story aloud, two fellow interns sitting with us. He was born in a village in Uganda, and when he was three years old he was taken for a polio shot. After receiving the immunization, he became paralyzed and was diagnosed with that same disease. 

His mother was distraught and gave up on him. According to his story, his blind grandmother raised him and would carry him on her back under the unmerciful African sun. After his grandmother died, he begged for money at a mosque for school fees. He was able to pay for school and was later converted to Christianity from Islam while working as a cobbler. 

Musa said he thanks God for his blessings, and he even wants to help children with disabilities like his own. He hopes other parents don’t give up on their special-needs children. 

God was the source of his life.

After our time with Musa, our group of interns visited the source of the Nike River. We road a boat through Lake Victoria and watched the waters shift. That water is the source of life for so many countries, and it was that very same river that saved the life of Moses, who led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. 

I thought of Musa, who was also called Moses by his grandmother. He was once in captivity of a physical disease. Now he understands that God is the source of life, and that he is faithful. And Musa, like the Nile, can be used to help so many other lives prosper. 

In his journal, he wrote, “All of you who have children like me, do not discriminate them because we are not your children, we are God’s children. You never know in the future God may use us, we who are discriminated…”

Musa isn’t perfect, Moses wasn’t perfect and Africa isn’t perfect, but with having Christ, the Source of Life runs through us and overcomes barriers.

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