The documentary, “Invisible Children” showed Arin Hedrick that the children actually existed and needed help, yet somehow they could find joy in their lives. “As harsh as it sounds, I had become very bored with the cliche starving children info-mercials,” said Arin. This awakening occurred for Arin as she was a sophomore at Eagle Point High School.
And this summer after graduating from EPHS as a valedictorian, Arin and seven other students joined Pastor David Rapp of the Accession Lutheran, spent nearly a month abroad. The eye-opening experience for Arin came from the moment they arrived in Kampala, Uganda as guides warned them to move their bags to the floor of their vehicle so people would not reach in and steal them.
“I think we were all a little freaked out that first day. Somewhere between being half way around the world, see policemen armed with machine guns every three blocks and mosquitos nets hanging above our beds to protect us from malaria, we all began to wonder what we were thinking coming to Uganda.
They only spent six days in Uganda but it was long enough to gain an understanding of the dire straits of an incredible number of children.
The group visited three orphanages and provided some money from the Eagle Point Rotary and the Interact Club at EPHS for an orphanage that will be constructed once the $28-$30,000 is raised. The children only receive meat once a month, the rest of the time the diet is almost entirely beans and rice. To obtain water, the children walk one mile each direction. And this is something that is done at least daily.
The street children, and there are many, includes a number who are very angry. They just wanted us to drop them some money and leave, said Erin. They think Americans can magically fix everything.
The children learn English in school. “It was easier to understand the children in Uganda than in Italy, Austria or Germany,” noted Arin.
The students visited the site for the new orphanage and each got to plant their own banana tree. The soil is very fertile and bananas are also very much a part of their diet.
Before they left Africa the group was able to visit the Equator, the starting point of the Nile River and Lake Victoria and the world famous falls.
“Throughout my week in Africa nothing became more true to me than Proverbs 22.2, ‘Rich and Poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.”
Arin found the Uganda portion of her trip very humbling. Airn said, “coming back home I realized how much useless stuff I had. We talk about economic problems, and then see these kids with absolutely nothing. Yet the street kids found joy through God.”
Arin spent a month working at a church camp in Idaho and was home a week before leaving last Sunday for California Lutheran where she will play volleyball.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent