In June of 2008 I traveled to Uganda with the simple agenda of volunteering at a local orphanage. During a moment off I found my way to the town of Jinja and stopped for some lunch. As I sat down, my peripheral vision picked up a group of children that were undeniably malnourished and weak. As soon as I acknowledged their presence, they rushed the table and began begging for scraps of my meal. I couldn’t ignore their hungry pleas and decided that I could go without this one meal, as, unlike these children, I knew another would come. They hurriedly took my offerings and did not hesitate nor did they look back; they were all so hungry, and afraid that if they did not quickly eat their portion they would not get to eat at all. There was one child, however, who did not continue on with the pack, but instead slinked back to my side. Our eyes met, and with a sincerity which I had never before experienced from such a small frame, managed a heartfelt “Thank you”.
I was taken completely aback by this gesture and I cried. I cried hard, and I could not stop thinking about Paul. How did he come to be so special? Where were his parents, did he eat again that day? Was he okay? My mind was consumed by him, and the very next day, I went back to Jinja to find him again. I did, and I bought him and his entire team biscuits, bread and water. All of the children were special and they all needed help, but it was Paul that I was drawn to and I knew I had to help him. I knew he was something extraordinary and I knew that for me, he would come to represent all of the children that I would not be able to help.
-Heidi Kaltur, Founder and Executive Director