Yesterday I truly grasped what sets my life apart from those in different parts of the world. Its not war, its not color, its not language or accents, its not what side of the road we drive on, or even the currency or its value but rather it is soap.
Like most of you know John and I have been observing living conditions and different grassroots ministries that have been started in the maximum security prisons here in Kampala, Uganda. Also like I have shared with most of you either through this blog or individual email is that the prisons here are drastically different than they are in the states. That was to be expected, nothing here is close to how it is in the states. But the prisons are especially different. Not that they dont have the same purpose, to hold and punish felons from the nation, the purpose is very much the same but the way they go about carrying out that purpose is completely different. I am now convinced that if you want to see where your economy, social justice policies, political system, etc..., stands in comparison to the rest of the world just judge it on the prison system.
Yesterday I realized what having absolutely nothing looks like. Yesterday we delivered about 3500 bars of soap to the prisons. Soap. Not a big deal right? Wrong, soap to these prisoners is better than gold, meth, sex, steak, their families, you name it. I was chatting with a man that had escaped death row after being sentenced to life for a murder that not only he didnt commit but come to find out was never committed... the supposed victim turned out to be alive the whole time, and while talking with him he expressed to me how it was not uncommon for prisoner to go for three to five months without a bar of soap. Three to five months of just rinsing off. Three to five months of in his words "just watering down the stench." The Government cannot afford (or if you ask me, doesn't see the need) to provide soap and necessary materials to the prisoners here so they just go without. I know that 99.9% of the time that people in prison deserve to be there. I understand that but I also am fully baffled at the fact that 100% of the time prisoners deserve no way to clean themselves.
You want to experience what having absolutely nothing looks like? Take a bar of soap to a prisoner that has not properly bathed in 10 weeks and let the look in their eyes, as you hand that freedom to them, burn in your heart.
There is a lot that we can learn form having nothing. There is a lot that we can learn from having everything. Neither of them is better than the other but both of them can impact you. I am a man with everything learning from men with nothing. There isn't anything wrong with that, we don't have to be the next mother Teresa we just need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to unfamiliar.