The Power of ONE!
At 11:30 p.m., the massive wheels of the KLM plane came screeching onto the tarmac at Entebbe International Airport. My journey began the day before in Atlanta. After an eight-hour flight through the night, we stopped briefly in Amsterdam and then again in Kigali, Rwanda, and finally to my destination of Entebbe, Uganda. We disembarked the plane, and I made my way through the maze of immigration lines, paid for my tourist visa, got my passport stamped and entered the baggage claim area. I collected my three huge suitcases and passed through the last checkpoint of customs with "nothing" to declare. And, I thanked God they didn’t stop me because packed in those bags were several tools. If the bags had been searched, airport security would have detained me. A few months before while in the U.S., my friend and colleague, Patrick Mulondo, purchased tools and equipment to utilize for his art ministry. I gladly volunteered to be his “mule.”
I met Patrick back in May of 2014 in Kampala, Uganda. As I’ve traveled all over the world and especially in Africa, I have met several people in those journeys but when I met Patrick it was special. It was as if he and I were long-lost brothers. He is goofy in the best sense of the word, “big-eyed” in pictures and at the same time, one of the most sincere and gifted artisans I’ve ever known. I’ve shared some of his life experiences in previous newsletters. When Patrick was four years old, his father died from HIV, and ten years later his mother died from HIV. Since meeting him, I've had the privilege of watching his story unfold.
On this visit as we were sitting in his car, I asked him what it was like after he and his siblings buried their mother? He said, "The landlord of our village home came to us and said we cannot live here anymore. All my siblings went in every direction, some to other villages. But for me, I went to the streets of Kampala where I struggled to survive by begging and scrounging around for food. I took drugs to fight the hunger and cold.” After a year of living on the street, one of his mother's friends happened to see him and called him over, “What are you doing on the streets?” Patrick told her the story, and she instantly took him in.
Norah Nasozi lives in a one-room home with an attached tiny shop from which she earns a meager living. What she lacks in material goods and wealth, she makes up for with a generous and loving heart. She invited the homeless boy into her life and home to save him from the streets of Kampala. With her limited resources, she paid for his school fees. How many of our families are willing to take a homeless child off the streets and provide for him or her? Norah did it for four years.
While living with his Aunt Norah, Patrick began volunteering at a nearby orphanage. One day while visiting the orphanage, an American family mistakenly thought Patrick was an orphan and not a volunteer. They learned he was a volunteer who shared a similar family history with the orphans. Because of his desire to help these children, the American family sponsored his college education.
Patrick majored in sculpture, modeling, carving and jewelry making. He earned his college degree from Makerere University, Kampala. His sculptures combine recycled metal scrap with casted fiberglass to give commonly found objects a new life and purpose. It's a unique approach in today’s Ugandan art scene. His artwork is known internationally. A portion of his art proceeds is used to purchase and distribute mosquito nets to prevent infant malaria deaths in Ugandan villages. One of Patrick’s siblings died in infancy from Malaria. Patrick partners with Mission Bell and is a key contributor to Redeemer House, XHopeMissions. Patrick is a vital partner with Catalyst For Africa.
Norah Nasozi saved a street kid from being discarded by society. Her one act of kindness, her one desire to build a deep relationship in Patrick’s life changed him forever. Through his art, Patrick Mulondo gives life to metal scrap and positively impacts the lives of thousands of Ugandan babies. Art is imitating life! None of this would have been possible if Norah had not taken a risk, sacrificed, and built a relationship with a young street kid who would change the world!
As a Catalyst For Africa partner, you stand beside some of the greatest men and women of God. Your prayers and support let our African brothers and sisters know they are not alone in their mission. Together, we are changing the world in Jesus’s name, one relationship at a time.