Namuowongo Slum

Just when you think your heart can’t take anymore….
Today we went to one of the slums.  Deep into the slums.  A place not fit for an animal to live and yet around 6,000 people call it home.
Many of them children.
This is just ONE of the slums in the capital of Uganda.  There are several.
Today I sat in a wooden shack that serves as some sort of community room, waiting out a downpour.  While sitting there I learned:
About 6,000 call this place home.
There are hundreds of disabled children living in this one slum with relatives or kind-hearted community members.
There are homes in Uganda take will accept disabled children but there is a fee to take your child there, a fee which the people of this slum do not have.
So, what happens to these children then, you might ask? (I did.)
They sit at home.
By themselves.
Day after day while their parents/relatives/caregivers do whatever it is they do to try to scrape together enough money to survive.
It is hearbreaking.  PEOPLE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS!
Or how about the hundreds of other children here, clearly not in school.  Dirty, skinny, dressed in rags, covered in sores and fungal infections.    Why aren’t they in school?
Because even the “free” school here costs too much for the families of these children.  About 22,000 shillings per term I’m told.  About $12 US dollars.  Not including the uniforms that are required and the books you have to buy.  When you can’t find enough money to feed your family how are you going to find the money for school?
Or imagine you are a 7 year old girl in this slum.  Your mother is called “mad” and shunned in your community because she is mentally disabled.  You are a product of rape, as are your siblings.  Your mother is pregnant again.  Not by choice, but when she is raped frequently by unknown men it is what happens.   There is no door on the tiny shack you live in.  Men come and go as they please.  You see things no child should ever have to see.  You don’t go to school.  You are dirty and dressed in rags.  You don’t eat much.  Other children make fun of you.  But despite all that you kneel to greet the strange looking people who come to talk to your family and smile when they take your picture.   You’re beautiful.  You deserve so much more.
I don’t know how to help them.  I don’t know what to do.  But I can tell you, we’re going to do something.  We have to.

Making our way in.

A lady we stopped to chat with for a moment .

I don’t even have words…

Treasured smiles….

Beauty in the midst of such ugliness.


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5 Comments to “Namuowongo Slum”

  1. Thank you for sharing your first hand experience. Your pictures are worth a thousand words. Please let us know what we can do to help.

  2. Salem,
    Thanks for letting us follow along this journey with you. Praying for God’s guidance as you make impossible decisions.
    Heather

  3. only tears….

  4. Oh my word Salem.
    Prayers girlfriend.

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