Monday, June 6, 2011

Auntie Diana

Meet our lovely and determined role-model and Purse of Hope house mentor, Diana. Diana has been living with the young women and girls for the past six months, serving them as an “auntie”, offering an exemplary picture of where loving support, prayer, hard work and perseverance can take you.

A journey of discovering the capacity of her own heart and potential prepared Diana for her work and life at POH. In 2008, she noticed that she had “developed a heart, a love, to care for the uncared for ones” and looking around her church, noticed a handful of kids. She would meet with them on Saturdays and when she had some extra money from her own sponsorship she sacrificially gave, using it buy them shoes, shirts and pens for school.

During her campus holiday in 2009, she worked with the Cornerstone Home in Gulu as a mentor. Reflecting on that time, she says “I loved being a mentor because I was sharing what I had within me to others...being there showed me that I have the potential to change someone’s be a leader...(the girls and I) were learning from each other.” Inspired by the comprehension of her talents and ability to encourage the same within others, a year later she began volunteering with POH.

Diana loved hanging out with the girls at POH and they loved her; she was invited to live and work as a mentor. At POH she says, “there is a way you develop love...If you can’t love you can’t be a mentor, the love has to be in you. When you are a mentor, however old they (the girls) are, they are like your children.” Her life and presence among them offers them inspiration and strength. “When it comes time for praising and worshipping, (the girls) can say, ‘if Auntie can do it, we can do it’ and we find our life, new life in Christ.” She’s thankful to invest in a place where the girls say they find home, and works earnestly to solve problems that arise, “If someone is battling with something, I can try my level best -- if it means praying or talking to someone” she is always ready.

Describing what keeps her going as a mentor, she says “I feel good to know that someone has grown up in my hands...when that girl is fulfilling all the dreams that she has when I have helped her and put a hand in there so that she can become what she really wanted.” Her responsibility is considerable and she has challenges. She can’t always go out with friends, at times she has difficulty understanding some of the girls under her care, the older ones don’t always listen and sometimes the girls come to her asking, “‘but auntie, what is this?’ and also me” Diana says, “I don’t know. That is a challenge.” Yet she insists that through love and prayers they are overcoming together. She finds that these challenges also help her to grow, “...when you are someone’s mentor, you are showing the character and you have to respect yourself first. If it comes to caring, you have to care, when it comes to talking, you have to talk well, you have to be a role model. Me, I have to move the right way so that that someone can also move the right way. When I am a mentor, it’s like I am serving God. When I praise God with these girls we are serving God together.” Her favorite verse is 1st Corinthians 13, because it demonstrates to her that the whole bible is based on love, that God is love. Even if the child she is working with is “so hard, I say in my heart ‘I will love you no matter what, to see you changing to become the person that everyone admires in the future.’ God loves us like that and that’s the love I would like to show to someone else, however hard she might be.”

Along with her work and life as a mentor, she is a determined student studying telecommunication engineering. Always curious, she chose TE because she wanted to understand technology. She used to wonder about things like transmissions, pondering how radios and televisions operate and how someone could be in the village and hear and see others? Seeing computers, satellites and solar panels she would ask herself how they worked and at home would try to fix the TV. Growing up, the people around her had many challenges and she would think, ‘God, how can our people change?’ In the future she envisions having her own radio or TV station that she’ll use as a platform to solve peoples’ problems and help them to explore their talents, perhaps being an answer to her own question. In six months she’ll graduate from Uganda Institute of Information and Telecommunications and hopes to find a professional job so that she can hone her skills, but will continue the work of her heart, mentoring.

We are profoundly thankful for her and the great mentor she is at POH.