I am Aber Grace a 43-year-old married woman living with my family of 14 members in a three-roomed house in Naguru slum, Kampala. I stay with my husband Denis, 6 biological children and the rest are children I welcomed into my home. When I was growing up, I always loved helping others and sharing things with them. I got married to Denis whose wife had abandoned with four children and his youngest child at that time was only 3years old. I embraced them and took care of them as my own. I joined Meeting Point International (MPI) and I was able to meet Rose the director who educated my heart even more about the human value. “My entire family was welcomed, loved and cared for by MPI and I still continue to ask myself who I’m that I am looked at in this special way by people who do not know me. This has guided me more to welcome people wherever I go because it is a beautiful way of living. I am not afraid of what we shall eat or if we will fit in our small house because I choose to live in the moment that God has placed in front of me” – Aber Grace.

A few years back, my husband was not happy with how I was welcoming people into our home because of our low family income. It brought wrangles between us but I continued to respectfully educate him as to why I was doing this. It is lovely that he is now very welcoming to these children and keeps encouraging me to bring them home since he understood the value of a human being that I had always been emphasizing. I am a cook in a school while Denis does casual work so we mainly live off daily income but we are very happy. Rose continuously teaches us that our human value is greater than sickness, poverty, richness, race, ability or disability. “When your heart is moved, you find yourself doing things that makes other people wonder what kind of heart you have yet it is just that you let your heart be with what it was made for” – Aber Grace.

One of the children I welcomed is Muliisa Sam, a 28years old Rwandese refugee who lost both parents when they were still living in Ntungamo (Western Uganda). He is also a graduate from the University. “I was working as a security guard at a construction site but unfortunately, there was a robbery and I was held accountable. I was arrested and spent some good time in Luzira Prison. When I was released, my family and friends did not welcome me back, all my academic documents and National Identification card (ID) were all stolen from the house that I had been living in before. My life was very hard but I happened to meet Grace while in the community and told her the story of my life. She welcomed me, gave me a home, food and told me not to worry about anything. Her husband helped me get another ID and I am slowly following the process to be able to get back all my documents. I have never felt so loved and welcomed to the point that this home is a rehabilitation centre for me. Grace’s entire family is united and we care for one another” – Muliisa Sam.

The other child is Mutagambwa Aloysius, a 20-year-old Mukiga by tribe. He came from Kabale (Western Uganda) with a truck carrying bananas (matooke) which they were to supply in Naguru Go-down market (Kampala). He was working as a casual labourer but he was left behind by the truck yet it was his first time in Kampala and did not know anyone. He resorted to sleeping under a stall in the market for about a month when the people around reported to the local authorities. Grace’s husband heard about Aloysius and brought him home. “I have been welcomed by a family that loves and cares for me even without knowing me and I wish to stay with them forever for. I try to help her with any work around because there is no way I can ever repay her for this love and care.” – Aloysius.

Amito Lucy a 14year old has been under Grace’s care since 2018. Lucy was living with her paternal grandmother within Naguru but the time came andshe was chased on allegations that she was indisciplined and lazy. She then started sleeping on verandas of bars yet Naguru which is very unsafe. Lucy used to hung around the school where Grace cooks food and was noticed because she was always very dirty and looked sad. Grace started feeding Lucy and tried to reunite her with her grandmother in vain. Since they were not welcomed on several occasions, Grace took up looking after Lucy and is happy that Lucy has also been enrolled under MPI’s Distance Support Program to attain a good education. “For all this time I have been with Lucy, she is disciplined, hardworking and relates well with the rest of the family not as I had been told before.” – Grace.

Okello Richard, a 19 year old boy who is a paternal orphan has been living with me since 2017 because his mother was having difficulty pushing him through school and providing for the family needs. Richard’s mother is a neighbour to Grace’s family in their home village. Richard sat for his senior four final examinations (Uganda Certificate of Education) recently from Luigi Giussani High School. This has been possible through support from Meeting Point International and also because of the relationship that Grace created with him which brought him close to us. ”My mother is the happiest because she never saw me obtaining a good education. Grace whom I look at as my second mother has loved me from way back and still continues to make me feel like her son which is very special to me. I may not be related to her by blood but this kind of heart is more special and it is keeping us together.” – Richard.

In the photo above from left to right are Amito Lucy (in yellow), Aber Grace, Muliisa Sam (male in the back), Akello Mercy (front left), Mutagambwa Aloysius (striped shirt) and Denis (extreme right). Mercy and Denis are Grace’s step children whom she has lived with for many years. These are some of the children we found available at home.

Grace and her husband are living happily with this big family and she commented that although things have not been easy for them, God has always watched over them and they are surviving happily. “I encourage everyone one else to allow their hearts to be educated by what Rose is doing because I personally feel a lot of joy in my heart when I am there for others. I always feel pain when someone else is suffering because I imagine if it were me or my child being in that same situation” – Grace.

Compiled by Hope Clare Lakaraber

01st February 2021