The big news breaks to the children about the celebration and Childero Olympics, everyone cannot wait. Weeks, days and hours go by and here comes the 18th July when we are to have the celebration. Many children spent a sleepless night thinking about the car ride from their village to Gulu and how big the town and buildings will look like.
At sunrise, dressed in their best clothes the boys and girls gathered anxiously waiting for the taxi driver to come pick them up. “Woah, woah” goes the wild screams and laughter from the children as the taxi approaches. Soon enough the taxi is filled with children talking about what they think the day will be like. Out of the excitement from the car ride and the fact that they are visiting the town, they keep chanting throughout the journey like little monkeys in the forest. On arrival, the children are served bread and peanut butter with a cup of tea. They all ate their plates clean and later had their faces painted with the Olympic color of their assigned team. We split into the red, blue, green, purple and yellow teams.
Time check 10:00am. Everyone is at the district center and the party begins. The Reverend welcomed everybody and led us in a prayer which transitioned us into colorful performances from the different bible clubs. Oops! I still cannot believe what my eyes saw. The most shy of all our children jumped on stage, singing and dancing like he has never done before and leaving everybody surprised. We went on and enjoyed traditional folk songs and dances from the Children with a great participation full of energy from our boy Bosco who is often ill. Our hearts were filled with joy and we thank God for giving him the energy. The rest of the children sung their hearts out and danced like they do not have bones leaving people begging for more.
The most valued time at the party finally comes. Children got served plates full of hot food plus a bottle of soda making them smile to the ears. It felt like Christmas had come so early this year because it’s only then that you get to have various dishes severed at a meal with a bottle of soda. After all the eating the children got to relax as they waited for the Olympic Games to be set up.
“Wheeeeeee” goes the whistle and everyone gathered with his/her team mates according to their Olympic colors with boys and girls ready to play. The fun began with children struggling to pick oranges with their mouth from buckets full of water with loud cheers from their team mates. The struggle continued when we went ahead and had a sack race and even involved the pastors and bible club volunteers to take part. Everyone could not help laughing at the elders struggling to do the sack race and stretching their bones (We cheered on the underdogs). We went on until it came to the time to announce the winning team. The main hall went into dead silence as everyone anxiously waited to hear their team being announced the winners of the Olympics. At last the red team took it all. “Yeah-yeah yeah-red-oh yeah” went screams from the excited red team over their victory.
Despite the fact that the red team won the Olympics, everyone else was a winner in a special way. All the children went through a month of learning a bible song and learning how to recite John3:16. In return all of the children were rewarded with their own bibles for their hard work.
Blessed is the hand that gives than the hand that receives. Being an orphan does not mean you cannot help. They proved it when they took the proceeds from their Mandazi Project (a Mandazi is like a doughnut) to tithe a tenth of it to their church then bought a box of soap from what was left over after the tithing. They visited the sick at Gulu Regional Referral hospital, prayed to God for healing and blessed their families with the bars of soap. Just like the widow in Mark 12:42 who offered the little she had, the children decided to follow her example and give away the little they had made out of their Mandazi sells. God saw us from our darkest hour when all hope was gone and He is letting His light shine through us. God is using us to reach out to others.
Finally, the moment comes when everyone has to return back home though the children do not want the celebration to end. They only agree after being told they are to be driven back home. Out of excitement everyone wanted to sit by the window so that their village friends might see them riding back home and have evidence whenever get to talk about it. The children got out of the taxi to a crowd of village friends waiting to listen to their town experience and welcome them back to their normal village life. It was an exciting day, even better than Christmas.