Wednesday, January 18, 2012

From his riches, they all received

Waiting for my hair stylist Saturday morning, I began thumbing through the latest issue of Runner's World. I'm a new runner, having just completed a three minute run.  Yeah, that's three minutes, not three miles.

But something besides technique tips caught my attention. It was the story of Ugandan Olympic runner Julius Achon who in 2003 discovered eleven homeless, orphaned children sleeping beneath a city bus in his hometown of Lira, Uganda. He immediately brought the children to his parents' home and fed them lunch. There was but one bowl in the home, so the children patiently waited their turn.

Tough Achon lived in Portugal at the time on a salary of $3,000 a year, he promised to send his father $1,200 a year to house and feed the children and to send them to school.

What does Achon have to say about children?
In Uganda, he observed dryly, housing standards were not the same as in the United States—or as he put it: "If you are poor in Uganda, you just sleep on the ground like the cows." Childcare was also no problem, since children contributed to household chores and tended to be well-behaved. "As long as there is enough food, they are easy to mind," he said. And while accepting responsibility had been daunting, he admitted, his time in the United States and Portugal had cast the financial obligation in sharp relief. "I calculated: If these 11 kids stay, for $100 a month I could feed all of them," he said with a shrug. "When I realized that, there was no other decision."
The runner now lives in the United States with his wife and baby, but returns to Uganda twice a year to visit his father and the eleven orphans.

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