From our first generation of street boys we heard some wonderful success stories. The boys are still meeting in fellowship and some of them have become Christians and attend local churches - even holding down positions of responsibility in those churches. They are no longer boys of course and many have families of their own.
Joffrey (below) has been in the police force since 2014. He is currently in training to become a road traffic officer. Joffrey learned to drive in the first driving course offered by Amaha We Uganda. AWU bought his first licence and Joffrey has continued to pay for its renewal. He has a wife and family, several children all attending school and he has built his own house. Joffrey says, because of his experiences, he is more compassionate towards the misdemeanours of the street boys and handles them differently to the way he was treated by the police when he was living on the streets.
(The next Blog story is a video of Joffrey's testimony. Do listen).
Hamis (below) also learned to drive in the first group of driving apprentices. He became a Christian, got married and had two beautiful children. However initially he didn't follow the advice of the team to go to the taxi park where he could earn money from car owners by encouraging people to use the taxis. This may have given Hamis an opportunity to drive. Sadly his marriage broke up and his wife left, leaving Hamis to look after the children. Grasping the enormity of that responsibility, Hamis went to the taxi park where he now works daily, earning a small wage, and is well respected. Hamis feeds, educates and brings up his children and is hopeful he will one day have enough money to renew his driving permit.
Napoleon (below) has told his own testimony in a previous Blog (do listen). He now works hard on the small portion of land his father gave him (as well as helping his father) and hopes to be able to build his own house from vanilla profits one day.
Ronald (below) is also working. He turned up to the day with the street boys looking very smart in his suit- a far cry from earlier times we met him. He has a dream to own his own street chapati making business. In the photo he is telling his story to Neil as John translates.
Bob was a street boy who already had a talent for shoe making. We met Bob very early on when he was training boys to make shoes at The Good Samaritan Skills Centre. Bob left AWU because he wanted to start up his own business. He now has a shoe making business in Kasese town and although we didn't see him, he does remain in fellowship with the team and sees them from time to time.
Below is Martin, a truly faithful man of God. He has had many ups and downs since coming to faith and has had two opportunities to train in driving and briquettes. He has let his driving permit lapse and, although he tried to champion the briquettes he struggled with the lack of response from the people of Kasese.
However he has continued to hold the street boys together, meeting them regularly and sharing his story. He continues to attend church at All Saints Kasese where he has served his term as a church warden. He is a referee for many of the local secondary school's football matches.
Life still challenges Martin and, just as we were leaving Uganda, he was offered the opportunity to interview for the police force. He was considered to be one of the strongest candidates but his academic ability (through lack of schooling) let him down.
However all is not yet lost as several people are working hard to convince the police that he should be given this chance. We continue to pray for that. In a text to me Martin said this;
"I will not give up hope. I know God is with me. In this I will be an example."
And of the new street children?
Four have already returned home with much support from John and Jethro, who work tirelessly with the families. I had the opportunity to visit the home where Mumbere Jackson has gone to live with his Aunt and Uncle. Jackson wasn't there as his sister was presenting her partner to the family and Jackson had gone to be part of that celebration - in itself a wonderful testimony. Jackson's Aunt told us what a blessing he was to them.