Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A story that changed my life--just a pinky

I had one of the most perfect days.  It was so satisfying.  Kelsey and I met with a man named Rob in the morning.  He is from Wales and is here working with PONT schools. We had a really great conversation.  We were meeting to learn more about his organization and to tell him more about ours.  He is a darling little chatterbox.  He was telling us all about how he got involved with his organization.  Apparently his best friend asked him to come to Uganda and start the program up.  This was seven years ago, the program has since grown and is huge.  But it was wonderful learning about his journey and experiences in Uganda.  He really believes, as do I, in looking back at how everything works out for a reason and the only explanation is that God is orchestrating everything.  I wanted to write down a story that he told me that pretty much changed my life.

When he first got to Uganda, his friend asked him to go visit a refugee camp in northern Uganda.  It was a camp with thousands of people who’d been victims of the LRA--yeah, Kony.  He said it was one of two times in the last seven years that he cried.  He just felt helpless.  He told us how upset he was that he wasn’t a doctor or a nurse because he spent his visit there crying behind a hut because he felt completely and utterly useless to these people.  

There was a four year-old little girl that had broken her collarbone playing with her friends.  One of the leaders of the camp asked Rob and his friend if they would accompany her to a hospital that was outside the camp.  Rob introduced himself to the little girl and tried to talk to her a little bit.  He said she was just tiny.  Even though he was attempting to be sweet and interact with her, the shy, tiny girl kept her head down, held her collarbone with her hand and was reluctant to interact with him at all.  

The ride to the hospital was so sad because, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Ugandan roads are horribly pot-holey.  Rob said that he sat by her in the car and every time the car drove over a pot hole and lurched, the little girl winced in pain, her whole body tightening up.  This continued during the drive.  Again, the feelings of helplessness were overwhelming.  After a while, the little girl interlaced her pinky finger with his.  When they’d go over bumps, she’d clench her hand a little bit and then release.  So sweet.

Rob told us that’s why he was supposed to go with his friend to the camp.  Not to perform medical procedures and fix all of their problems, but to be with this four year-old girl.  To help her not feel alone.  To be the hand to hold.  He continued to tell us that our efforts are not in vain.  Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is be there.  As we go throughout our time here in Africa, if we’re making connections with people, we’re helping.  I had a bunch of people flash through my mind.  My friends here.  I think I sometimes stress out about finding purpose and probably overanalyze things.  But at the end of the day, I love the image of the four year-old girl in excruciating pain, with her tiny finger laced with his.  Just be there for people.  It doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t cost money, you don’t have to be a genius or have a really fancy degree in order to help people.  It took nothing but Rob's pinky finger.  That's all.  I know that God puts us in each others paths for a reason.  How sweet that Rob was sent all the way up to this camp just to link pinkies with a little girl in pain.  It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.  I know that God loves us and that He puts us in each others lives to help us not feel alone.  Mmm...it's just been on my mind ever since Rob told us this story.  Thought I'd share. :)


  1. Thank you Mallory for putting everything in perspective for me and and touching my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  2. just what I needed, mal. I have been feeling that I have not been able to do all I want to after little Stella was born, that other people and needs have gone without because my attention has been so close to home and baby. I'm grateful to know that little things can mean as much as big gestures because sometimes all I can manage are the little things. I love the way your heart is growing there, and that you are willing to share so mine can grow a little too. love you.