16-year-old Sharon tragically lost her mother in the midst of the pandemic. During this devastating time, it meant the teenager's beloved Compassion center director, Haddy, could not be there on the day of the funeral to provide comfort. The government has temporarily restricted burials to just close family members. “I felt so sad … Life was hard,” says Sharon.
In most cultures in Uganda, a funeral brings people together to support the bereaved. Some people take over chores and others spend the night. The family is never left alone until a few days after the burial. Amid the COVID-19 restrictions, Sharon was devastated Haddy could not be there, but was grateful for her ongoing support, comfort, and counseling during the challenging time. The day before the burial, Haddy spent time with Sharon but had to return to her own home before the country's nightly curfew began.
Since her mother's death, Sharon has been living with her aunt. She has not yet decided whether to stay there or move in with her father. For now, Haddy has been making regular visits to Sharon to check on her wellbeing and to gently help her to grieve her mother's passing.
“We talked about what happened and Sharon was feeling somewhat better. I wanted her to accept that her mother has died so that she doesn’t live in denial because denial can lead her into depression. I also wanted to equip her with life skills on how to cope with the new life she faces,” says Haddy.
During her visits with Sharon, Haddy discovered the family was struggling with food. Her aunt sells vegetables and a few other items and had been trying to keep the family fed, but it was not easy during the quarantine restrictions.
Haddy had already been building up a list of the most vulnerable registered children who needed food since the pandemic began, and Sharon was added to this list. One happy afternoon, Sharon and her family received large food baskets of cornmeal porridge and beans.
“Haddy told Sharon to go to the church,” shares Sharon’s aunt. “At that time, I did not expect anything, but I was so happy to see that they gave us food. I could not believe it. I did not expect that anyone could help us. Thank you so much."
“Giving food was a way of bringing comfort and showing we care,” says Haddy. And as long as these families, including Sharon’s, need help, Haddy is ready to respond.