Martha, a widow who cannot walk on her own pushes a flimsy, plastic chair from her one room apartment to the community latrine. Making it to the latrine is slow work as she pushes the chair out in front of her and takes two steps, stops, breathes heavily and starts again. She struggles across the broken and often cluttered walkway. The chair leg catches in a large crack; the chair bends and Martha stumbles with a look of fear crossing her face. She manages to regain her balance and pauses briefly before she labors on. When she finally returns to her room she drops to her bed, her arms hang limply and her body sags in relief.
Her days are spent cooped up in her little room behind Smile Africa Minstries where she makes necklaces from paper beads; reads her Bible and prays for those who are suffering. She has a doll named Miracle who keeps her company and her daughter, Pastor Ruth, and her friends drop in throughout the day to chat and bring her food.
On a recent trip to Uganda I carried a walker donated by my friend Mae. When Martha was presented with her walker she raised her hands toward heaven then covered her face with her hands and wept. Her granddaughter and friends shouted and danced around her rejoicing as her tears gave way to a smile that lit up her entire face.
Martha now stands with dignity when she arrives at the door of Smile Africa ministries gripping her walker and beaming at her Ugandan sisters who joyfully welcome her. Her friend Rukia rushes up and embraces her. Martha says, “Rukia, now I can walk across the street to your home. I can see where you live.”
Each afternoon when the women gather at Smile Africa to work on their crafts Martha sits among them, no longer relegated to creating her necklaces alone in her room.
Consider booking Rachel Eggum Cinader for your next conference, retreat, club meeting, worship service, women's ministry event, etc. Her mixture of humor and compassion makes for a delightful session as she encourages women to seek God's direction and purpose in their lives. Email Rachel: Rachel@h4ki.org