George Ssebagala and I were brought together in 2009. He was just 6 years old and wanted to go to school. I was struck by his huge smile and big ambitions and heart as I reviewed those children available to sponsor under the Starfish Programme. On that day, George and I made a commitment to each other. For me, it was an emotional and financial pact: I will love you as I love my own children and I will support you with school fees so that you can attain your dreams. As for George, he had to do his best in school and send me notes of his progress several times a year.
As the years went by and the progress reports kept coming, I thought of him daily; I prayed for him daily. My huge dream was to meet and get to know him. Finally, this year – May 2015, I went to Uganda to meet my Ugandan son, George!
We first met, face-to-face, at a home visit to his village. He was shy, happy, and embracing. His Mum was gracious and thankful. He introduced me to his family, showed me around the village, and talked about his schooling. As we said good-bye, he told me how excited he is about Starfish Camp and seeing me again in four more days. We hugged.
At camp, we spent time together and got to know each other on a deeper level. Like any Mum, I talked to him about doing his best, the importance of honesty and integrity, and his dreams of becoming a pilot. He told me that his home life is challenging and school is difficult. During those 4 days, every time I looked around, George was near.
When it was time to say good bye, George would give me a hug, say good bye, ask me to promise to return next year, and run off to be with the other kids. Minutes later, George would come back to give me a hug, say good bye, and request a promise for me to come back next year. This good-bye ritual lasted about 20 times. We were connected and cemented. Dreams still come true ~ I pray George’s dreams do too!