TRAVEL || Meet Brenda Adyaka / by Madeline Harper

    At thirteen years old, Brenda is one of the most composed kids I have had the privilege of meeting. She holds herself with a dignity and grace that I aspire to. The whole week I was in Uganda, she was marked by what can only be called steadiness. She is even keeled, humble, and warm. At thirteen years old, Brenda has spent almost half of her life at H.O.P.E. Children’s Home, moving there in the third term of 2008 to join her older brother and sister who were already staying and studying at the home. This girl has been through so much in her short span of life from overcoming intense sickness, to a father who left her to live in the northeast section of Uganda called Moroto, and a mother who wasn’t sane for a stretch of time. Brenda is one of seven children, five of whom are at the children’s home. She has two parents living, yet they are either unable or unwilling to care for her. But this sweet friend of mine still visits her mother, checking in on her health and taking care of her younger siblings. I am blown away by her welcoming heart. While the other kids are in the dorms sleeping during their days off from school, Brenda sits outside playing games with the matrons. She is taking care of chores, helping sort beans for meals, getting water from the filter. She is a stunning girl, easy to get along with and quick to draw you in to her world. But more than that, any time you are around her, you feel a deep rooted calmness and a servant's heart. Brenda was one of my favorite kids I got to meet simply because we could just share space. She patiently taught me to sort beans for meals, all while laughing at my attempt to speak her language. She let me sit with her outside and just enjoy the day, not needing words to fill the air, only a smile. She (mercilessly) beat me time and time again at a card game similar to Uno, but with changing rules every hand. Brenda the Beautiful, a girl with high ambitions to be a nurse because of the care she received when she spent a stint in a hospital. She met Jesus at this children’s home, a theme I would soon learn ran throughout many of the kid’s stories. I asked Brenda how she knew Jesus was good, she replied with an assuredness of faith rarely seen in kids who are only thirteen. In response to my question she gave this sweet answer- “When my mother was mad, she couldn’t sleep. She was demons and wasn’t right. I prayed for her for a long time but it didn’t work, she didn’t get better. Then I still prayed, and she was healed! She now goes to church and is better.” This teenage girl has a huge heart for others. She is beautiful to her very core, her thoughts are fixed on others, her soul is humble.She sent me home with a letter, full of drawings and scripture. She signed it with this, which I now leave you with:

    “For the word of the Lord is good, and all His work is done in faithfulness. 
The word is full of His never ending love.” Psalm 33:44-5 

Brenda and her brother, Moses. 

Brenda and her brother, Moses.