Gabriel cares for a headstone in the children's cemetery, removing moss.
Janell helps Joseph refill his spray bottle at the children's cemetery clean-up on All Souls' Day, as Samuel looks on.
I shared the Facebook situation with my dear friend, Janell. She and her husband met while volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity in India. She shared a story of a desperate street beggar, crying out for money to be able to bury his dead son, lamenting that he couldn't afford to buy the casket. Janell lovingly (perhaps naively) gave him the money for the cost of the casket. She remembered how so many people walked right past him, as if he was invisible. A few blocks away, a few days later, Janell came across the same man pulling the same stunt with another naive foreigner. Janell ran at him, chastising him for his scam, and he ran away... to another corner, probably. With poverty comes desperation.
Even after hearing Janell's story, I found myself troubled with frequent thoughts of a suffering person who had asked me directly for help. Her request for help paying for school fees kept ringing in my ears. I continued to pray for her.
Amazingly, a visiting priest (via California) from Uganda entered our lives right in the midst of my unrest about not being able to help this person in need. On a hike with Father Luke, I shared the story of my Facebook friend from Uganda, and expressed sadness at not being able to help her.
Zachary pitched in, "St. John Vianney said 'If you can't help someone yourself, then pray that someone else will help them." Wise counsel.
Fr. Luke offered to help us determine if her request for financial aid for school was legit. He had in fact, taken a few students (family members) from Uganda into his financial care to help provide for their education. He had close contacts in Uganda who were willing to research and investigate the claims made by my "friend" to help discover the truth of the matter.
In the meantime, her pleas for help kept hitting my FB message folder:
Bridget, great to hear from you and all your words were so great to read, i have understood your point my dear friend, i don't take you as a bad person but always good to me, well thats how everyone thinks when someone is coming out requesting for help, but with me am not such kind of who just gets to lie, with lying i can't gain and am a God believer, i fear to be punished on sides of God when lying is not accepted.
let me guess that you fine and doing all good, am very sorry my dear friend if it annoyed you but as you know when someone needs to be education much is ever up and down looking for the possibilities to be in school ever. life is just going on somehow, hope one day God will accept out my prayers. let me wish you the best my dear friend, God bless you and your family.
i always pray for it, but Bridget what should i do to be helped out with my studies, i see like my future is getting to be blocked, my mother can't afford now anything, she is completely down.. please help me my friend, connect me to someone who can at least help me... complete my studies or go through this high school, then after i can find a course to do.. if of University fee not available.
please am sorry to budge you, my friend i need help, so that i can survive in future, and also to help others. send regards to your one heaven sent husband. God bless you all.
Having been budged, I was so relieved to know that soon Father Luke's contact in Uganda would have a concrete answer about whether or not this appeal for help was fact or fiction. At his request, I asked my friend for the name and address of her school and for a copy of her most recent report card. These items were sent to me, and I forwarded them together with every single bit of correspondence I had received from her. Father Luke sent them on to his contact in Uganda.
And then, I waited...