During Christmas holidays, a group of Italian sponsors came to Kampala to visit Meeting Point International and Luigi Giussani schools. One of them is called Lorenzo; he started sponsoring Luigi Giussani schools before he even saw where his effort was going, all this was because of the friendship with Rose Busingye (the Director of MPI). He met her in Italy and he decided to involve himself with what this woman has built in Kampala. Reaching Kampala and realizing the concrete impact of his contribution surprised him. He was happy and he could not imagine the beauty of the experience he was supporting and all he could say was “I am happy to sponsor people who are happy”. Lorenzo was amazed in front of the way people live here: the community of Kireka and Naguru is composed of women who have incredible stories: “I am free” they sing. Free form all of the reductions that affect people’s life: they are focused, centered (as the Pope says) on the Christian encounter they made through Rose. It releases every woman from all the limitation they have: money, success, wellbeing are meaningless if a person does not get the value of life. Instead of taking these women live giving everything to the others and are happy and free. It really provokes all of them and me: I was accompanying them and I have never felt so involved like that moment because those women were changing the conception I have of happiness and well being. Lorenzo said “Supporting a school or an NGO does not help you to understand the fact that behind these institutions there are people and there is an experience that can change the world”. Why a group of women can change the world? Because the happiness they show among the difficulties of their life is the sign of the dearest thing they have: they meet Christ every day in the things they do: working, feeding children, crushing stones, making beads. Looking at them I realized that when the Pope says “When Jesus become part of our lives, we cannot longer remain imprisoned in our past. Instead we begin to look at the present with a different kind of hope”.
These women share an experience that make them friends, and this friendship is generating development. Lorenzo and his family were welcomed by the women of MPI in Kireka: they say it was like being welcomed by a family. Families of people who are free to give you everything, because they already have what really matters: the value of life and the value of the Christian experience. After dancing and singing with Rose plus the women, the visitors went for lunch with Rose.
This was an occasion to ask Rose about the story of Meeting Point International and to go in deep in the story of the women that generate this beauty. Rose told the stories of Teddy, Florence, Tina, Priscilla and many others so we could know in detail the past and the present of these people. Many stories were incredible for us because we realize that it does not matter what kind of problems or difficulties a person has to face: if someone in aware of his/her value can discover that this is greater than the issue or the limitations. This way every challenge can be the occasion to discover again that each person is loved and every instant is meaningful. Lorenzo repeated “I am surprised in front of the happiness of these people. They have lost many things, but they have what really matters: they know why they wake up in the morning”.
Rose told the visitors the episode of the Christmas Party at Meeting Point International. On the 25th the women celebrated the catholic feast in the field in front of Luigi Giussani High School. Teddy, one of them, said “We did not organize anything. On the 24th we realized that we want to spend Christmas together and even if we were many, all the hearts were turn to the same thing so we moved on as we were one; on the 25th everything was ready and beautiful because everyone brought the best she has. I brought the console and I was the DJ. We danced all day and at the end of the day I was not tired”.
Later visitors went to Welcoming House and the Children welcomed them: all of them were astonished because they noticed that nothing was missing in the life of those children. They are loved and accompanied in their growth: Apofia, Rose and the “aunties” take care of them. You can see that even if they are so young they are aware of the fact that someone loves them now and will never stop. This awareness can really make the difference. Children are hopeful and happy for what they receive every day and not sad for what they do not have. What Rose and Apofia give them is something that can change people’s lives. Apparently these children have nothing because they share everything and no one possess “things” but looking at them especially at the way they live, everyone can see that they have the love of someone who will never abandon them and it gives strength, hope and curiosity in meeting the others. The awareness of not to be alone in front of life’s challenges is what can change someone’s life. Here in MPI is evident: people do not need their problems to be solved, because these problems are challenges. People need to know they are loved and not alone.
The thing that surprised Lorenzo most was the happiness of the people he met: contributing to the development must be a contribution to the growth of people. The happiness Lorenzo noticed is the sign of the awareness that people have about the value of life. They are happy because they know that everything they do has a value. When someone understands that he or she has a value everything he or she does get meaningful because every experience becomes the occasion to discover the meaning of reality and of life. I work here since July, and accompanying the sponsors has been a great occasion for me to understand again what I can discover in my everyday life here.