Underdogs, Swing Sets, and Concrete.


Underdogs:  A brand new slide

I’ve not sure I’ve ever seen anything that looked more out of place. As my grandpa said, “It was like a saddle on a pig.”

Brand new shiny playground equipment in the midst of a ragtag barren refugee camp.  I walked over to a swingset and pushed on it. It was cemented in the ground.

Just as I thought: They’re planning on these folks being around awhile.

The chains on the swings were looped out of reach of any youngsters.

These refugees were from South Sudan. They were Kakwa people who’ve fled nearby Democratic Congo. Another alphabet soup named rebel group was stirring things up, forcing these people across the border.


Boys with homemade truck
Boys with homemade truck

The playground equipment was donated by Save the Children.  I have no fault with making the lives of these children easier and a good swing can be therapeutic.  I spent a good afternoon swinging our boys.  “Come on, Daddy, do an underdog.”*

It just seemed so odd as the camp leaders spelled out a long list of needs:  closer clean water, mats to sleep on, better nutrition for the children, Bibles. I glanced at the playground items and could only shake my head.  They’re sick from sleeping on the ground but have a new merry go round.

Go figure. T. I. A.  This is Africa.

I’ve put that northern Uganda refugee camp on both my GPS and bucket list.

I’m going back this summer with my grandchildren.  I’m going to introduce Noah, Jude, Luke, and Maggie to some beautiful African children.  We’re going to swing all afternoon under the brilliant African sun.  Later when Jack, Sydney, and Ellen Iles come, we’ll have a picnic there and make new friends.

If I feel up to it, I might even try one more underdog.



* An “Underdog” is when you swing someone high and run under/past before the swinger returns.


Postscript:  We were at the camp with five local African church leaders. Each one shared of his own experience as a refugee.  Those men and their church plan on returning to help with needs as well as lead a Bible study.


Teach and heal.

Teach and heal.

It’s what our leader Jesus did.

He still does it and often allows us to reach our hands in and take part.


There are some underdogs at a isolated Ugandan refugee camp.

When you come see us, I’ll take you there.


In the meantime, you might want to help the ministry our friends are starting there.

I’ll take you there.

SS_Refugee_Flw_Jan2014ot 2014-01-27 at 3.47.02 PM


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