“Ndi muntu, sili kabila”, meaning “I am not my tribe, I am a human being”, is how Acen Karamela Kasule, one of the oldest members of Meeting Point International responded when asked why she was the first person to contribute to the Ukraine cause once the idea to collect funds to support the war victims was suggested. The beauty in this statement is that many a time, we are more inclined to help people with whom we have personal relationships or similarities like ethnicity, religion, etc…, yet we ought to be moved by the compassion that should ideally come from recognizing that a fellow human being’s infinitely great value is in jeopardy.
“Who are we not to help or contribute something however small to those who are suffering, to offer them the companionship we have been shown by MPI and donors we may never meet. Watching the news about Ukraine makes me cry because those too are my children, they belong with me and the memories it brings up reminds me very vividly of how painful what those people are going through must be .We need to unite with the people in the war through prayer because we cannot live as if we are different and should love one another as human beings. There’s nothing like this one is black or white, we are all one. And this is why we are sending our support. It may not be able to feed them but it is a sign of our tears to show that we are with them in these trying times. If Ukraine or Russia was like in Mbarara (a Ugandan district), we would ask Rose to take us so that we can help however we can but we can’t due to the distance.” said Karamela.
Karamela Kasule, like many of the Meeting Point International (MPI) women were victims of the LRA guerrilla war in Northern Uganda when they experienced first-hand the horrors that come with war and it is how they ended up relocating to the slums of Kampala. Watching/ listening to news of the Ukraine war brings back very painful memories for many of them.
“Sometimes we watched as the rebels raped mothers in front of their children, cut off people’s body parts, buried people alive, among other inhumane acts that would make us so traumatised we lost hope and started doubting God’s existence.” said Akello Florence, a 50-year-old member of MPI.
“Today, I have learnt so much from MPI and from community school and I have the awareness that what we have contributed is nothing, but we want to help the victims with more than words of prayer and hope that this small token may remind even one person that God still exists. The money, above all, represents our voices and the cries of our hearts from the pain of what’s happening to humanity. I am requesting those who are fuelling the war to ask themselves “what is a human being?” because it should be only God that makes the decision to take away one’s life. We are praying that they recognise that what has already happened is bad enough and that God created us all with his love, not human love and they are eliminating this love forcefully. I call upon all of us and not just the war victims to prepare ourselves and our hearts, to ask ourselves, how I can clean my heart and make my life better? Am I worthy of God’s love? So that our hearts are filled with God’s love and when death comes, we are not scared because we know that we have a value and are filled with God’s love.” continued Akello Florence.
“It is very painful what is happening in Ukraine because those people are our brothers and sisters but also because it reminds us of the horrors of war we experienced and pray that God saves them like he did us. My heart is with MPI because I am grateful for the education on how to live with people and now am learning that when another human gets a problem, it is also my problem as well. We have to come together, unity is Golden, giving advice to someone is golden. In the past, different countries came together to help us during the war because their hearts moved for us, right now, they are also in our hearts and in my house hold, we include them in our prayers. May God bless and multiply the little we have given so that it can make a difference.” said Anek Florence.
“The people responsible for the war should remember the value of a human being. Covid-19 killed us in very large and we don’t need any more deaths. This money we have collected could take care of our struggling families because I personally take care of 4 orphans, however I understand the terror war can bring to people and I pray that this small contribution helps them so that they don’t lose faith in humanity and God.” said Atimango Josephine, a 56-year-old mother.
“Watching the news about Ukraine reminds me of my difficult childhood and watching children go without food bring tears to my eyes. My father passed away when my twin and I were 7 months old and after a few months, my father’s family chased my mother out of their clan. My mother, having no stable source of income suffered terribly with us trying to find food for us and we would sometimes go a day without any meals. I feel so much pain because I know what it is like to be a hungry child but now that I have children of my own, I can only imagine the pain the mothers must be going through helplessly watching their kids starve all because of a war brought about by fellow human beings. When we started to contribute, I gave whatever I had in my pocket and keep praying to God that the people can unite so that the war can stop.” contributed Nyangoma Mackline.
One after another, over 300 women of Meeting Point moved by the pain being experienced by the people in Ukraine and Russia managed to contribute Ugx. 3,000,000/=, approximately EUR.833/= which was forwarded through his excellence the Papal Nuncio, Luigi Bianco who was welcomed with music and dance by the MPI women on May 12th, 2022. He was thankful to the women and commended them on their solidarity for human kind.
MPI women have however expressed this solidarity before after hearing of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. The women of Meeting Point International like now were moved to action. For weeks, they crushed truck-loads of stones in the nearby Kireka quarry and contributed about $1,000. “It may only be a drop in the ocean, but our donation proves that the human heart is international, and without our unity the human race would become withered like a plant without nourishment” said Rose Busingye, MPI Director.
by Mariam Asiimwe.