Michael’s Story

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Michael’s Story

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Excerpt

Michael is the head of the project in Uganda and the local pastor who’s initiave it is to save his local abandoned children.

My name is Michael Bogere and I am 33 years old in April  2024.  I was born and raised in a very poor and strict Muslim family in Mafubira, Jinja Uganda. I’m the eldest of 6 children, 3 girls and 3 boys. 

My childhood was like many children here it was so very hard as poverty and hunger was an everyday reality.  At 7 years old I used to walk a 15-kilometer journey every day going to the garden in Kyamagwa from Mafubira to dig what had grown and take it back to try and sell some food for the family.  

I would carry food on my head to home, a distance of about 7.5km, and as you may imagine this wasn’t an easy task due to the long distance. I would often have to stop because I was tired and most times I would most of the way home. 

At 9 years old I remember carrying bundles of sugarcane on my head to the streets to sell so that we could have food at home but most of the time I couldn’t get customers and we ended up eating sugarcane for lunch and sometimes for supper.

My family situation was very difficult. My dad had three wives all sharing the same muddy house with my real mother.  At one point one of the wives left leaving just two. My dad became more and more irresponsible and eventually the other stepmother left the home and we now stayed with our mother in the house. 

Unfortunately, this did not stop my father’s bad behavior and the time came when my dad married my mother’s sister and he abandoned us.  Eventually, my mother went to go with my brothers and sisters to her parents’ home in Bukaleba village, in the Mayuge district, and I was left in a big muddy house alone at 9 years old. 

This was my nightmare, I used to get demonic attacks at night and things that I could not explain on the rooftop of the house while sleeping. I realized that one of my stepmom believed and practiced a lot of witchcraft. I had sleepless nights and would cry through the night. I had no food or money to buy it and I often went hungry. 

In the daytime, I would play with my friends but at night when all my friends left for their homes this was when my nightmares started again because the house was scary.

There was a good-hearted old woman who used to come at night and check on me and bring me some food when she could. 

I used to go to bed early at 6 pm because it was dark outside and very scary. I would sleep like a rat cause I had no mattress to lay on and sheets to cover myself hence I would sleep on a rug.  I would scavenge food and would live by feeding on people’s jackfruits, mangos, and pawpaws.

After several months when my father heard that my mom had moved to her parents’ home, he came back to the house with two of his wives and more suffering and abuse started again. His wives would always report me to my father saying I was a bad boy which was not true.  My father would not listen to me and believed them and he would just punish me severely. 

One day when I was 12 years old a friend of mine came and asked me to go and watch Jesus movie with him at the school grounds in the evening. I liked the idea and we went. The movie was very interesting. Jesus’s story was so good and amazing compared to what they talked about Muhammad. 

I liked the story of His birth, the miracles He did and His Death on the cross for my sins, and that he arose on the third day.    

Muhammad died and never rose, he never did any miracles. This opened my heart and mind as it was so amazing and gave me hope. When I returned home from the movie it was late, about 6.30 pm, and I found my dad already home from work waiting for me because he had been told that I was watching the Jesus movie. 

This was a very rough day for me.  He chained me and beat me up and he threatened me not to go back to watch a Christian movie because we were Muslims. 

I cried and got annoyed and didn’t understand why was I being beaten! Just for watching the Jesus movie!  I was always told that Muslims believe in Jesus so what was the problem?  I couldn’t explain it then but what I had seen and heard had already stuck in my mind and my heart and I had questions that I wanted answers to.  

Interestingly because my father was so against me hearing anything Christian and had such a hatred for it and he didn’t want to hear things concerning Christianity it made me more curious. He had a big hatred for Christians and I didn’t know why. After some months on a Sunday when I thought he would come back late as usual I rushed to the nearest church for service.   

When I came back at 1 pm I unfortunately found him home again waiting for me. But this time round the punishments were too much. He beat me, he tied me up and he promised to reject me as his son (which means he won’t be my dad anymore if I continue to be interested in Christianity). 

From there I stopped going to church because he threatened he would even kill me.   Several years passed and I turned 18 years old, I was now able to make a decision no matter what may happen so I started to look again and after 2 years I decided to believe in Jesus Christ as my savior in 2010 when I was 20 years old this is when my dad hated me more and he rejected me as his child.  

I was neglected and I started living on my own.  In 2022 he started to become very hostile towards me again and it was worse than the past years because he heard that I had talked to my siblings and they also converted to Christianity and again he wanted to kill me. He openly kicked me off my own house that I had built (on the ground that his mother had given me) because he said if I didn’t leave he would deal with me in all possible ways. 

I prayed and my family and I fled to a  safer place far away in Lukindu. 

I married my beautiful wife Evelyn in 2014 and we are blessed with 7 beautiful children. We have 3 biological boys and 4 adopted children, 3 boys and one girl. Below I explain how we came to adopt them and why. 

In 2015 I noticed something strange on my right leg on my calf but since I had no money for the hospital check-up I ignored it until it started giving me a lot of pain and the bone in my leg started growing backward pushing my muscle from behind. The pain was so bad I could hardly walk but I had no money for any treatment or medication. 

The pain had increased so I could not stand it anymore and made a plan to go to the government hospital in early January 2016 but unfortunately, they told me they had no X-ray machine to find out what was happening to my leg and they sent me to private clinic which wanted $10 that I didn’t have. 

I knew I had to have the X-ray so had no choice I forced myself to work in pain and raised the money and I did the X-ray test. This is when I discovered that I had a medical condition called “Exostosis” ( Bone growing on my calf ) and then the doctor admitted me to wait for the day of my surgery because that was the only option to take. Due to lack of money the doctor, a Muslim woman,  who was the head of the Surgeons department in the hospital and who was supposed to care caused me endless misery.  

She admitted me to the hospital for 1 and half months giving me empty promises and false hope to do with my surgery, but she never did anything. She would tell me the next week and the next became the next week because new patients who came after me with money for their surgeries were put ahead of me, and they just left me in the hospital. I was desperate. 

I lost hope and I became like a staff member in the ward because I got to know all the people, I started to help by carrying the dead people to the vehicle and helping those who couldn’t help themselves in the ward, helping to turn the patients who were so sick they couldn’t move. 

I did all this in great pain and remember I was also sick but I could walk. Later when I was about to finish 2 full months in the ward the Dr broke my heart telling me that she would not help me and the best she could do was to give me a referral form to go to Mulago National Hospital in Kampala. I felt finished, melting and so disappointed for her wasting my time at the ward instead of telling me openly at day 1 that since you have no money I won’t do your surgery!

I cried in front of her pleading for her mercy but she instead got mad at me I cried more but she was hard-hearted. In the corridor there was a woman in a wheelchair chair called Ruth who lost her leg in a car accident, she saw me crying and she called me and she said “Young man! please accept to go to Mulago. 

God cares, Jesus Is with you. Be strong and courageous because you’re not alone ” That was my last cry. I remembered the Jesus movie I watched years back, What He Is, What He Did for Me, and What He Can Do for Me If I Believe in Him. And that was the last time I cried. Then and there I believed in Jesus and I put trust in Him, and I got faith in God. 

Immediately I felt restored in my soul, I got the strength and power to endure all the pain. 

When I got the referral letter I went home not worrying anymore though the pain was increasing every day and I had to start walking on crutches but I had hope again. 

A time came and I traveled to Mulago hospital in Kampala but remember it was my first time to be in Kampala. I met the doctors, they reviewed my files and they told me to go back next week Friday for admission (this is about a 3-hour trip each way). When I went back they told me again to come back after another week into a ward where they admit those waiting for surgery. 

Still, I went back as I had no other options and I was given a bed to wait for the surgery. Remember I had no money to pay for anything and was worried they would ask me for just $10, where would get it, and as I couldn’t pay would they send me away? 

I was alone in the ward and fed by the hospital. It was not possible to have a relative with me because we had no money to feed them as in the ward the food was given only to patients, not caregivers. I spent 1 week in the ward and the doctors would come and check on patients and even me. 

The second week in the morning they came to me and said; “Young man take off your clothes we’re taking you to the theatre for surgery”.  I could not believe it. guess what?  Is this for real? They didn’t ask me for any money or anything? They pushed me on a wheelbed to the theater and my surgery was paid. This was a miracle and I know that God gave m compassion for me. 

In 2017 I started to have flashbacks to all I had gone through since my childhood. I realized that God had a reason and a purpose for my life and that I could not just live for myself and my family but that I had a mission to accomplish. 

I prayed and asked Him to show me the purpose of my life and this is when I got a vision to help people who are unable to help themselves. I believe my suffering was allowed by God as He wanted to show me so that He can use me to be a living example to others, to bring back hope to the hopeless, and a way for those who have no way. 

This is when I started to look at how I could help and I started visiting poor and hopeless families, praying, encouraging, and supporting them when I could. I found 5 of the poorest families who had children and I started to work with them.

I mentioned when I was talking about my children that I had 4 adopted ones and here is where they came into my life.  They were destitute and were at the point of becoming hardened street children due to the hard time that the Covid crisis in 2019 brought. 

Me and my wife decided to bring them to our small muddy house because they had started a street life.  Their older siblings had already become street kids in Jinja city.   I said, God! You Lead me to do this ministry. I trust You and I know You will provide but I can’t leave these children to become street children. And so we officially adopted them and they became part of our family.

This was the start of what I am now doing.  It is not enough just to share words of hope and faith but as the bible says we are to share the gospel of the Love of God by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and then you demonstrate with your actions what you believe. 

In the past few years, the needs of the local people have only increased, and the numbers we are feeding and helping keep growing. I try to focus on the poorest, generally, grandmothers looking after their abandoned grandchildren. 

As time has gone on I have a growing vision to do more and early in 2023 a small team of 3 people came from the UK and Spain to see what is happening here.

We had an amazing time together sharing the vision of what is possible to accomplish in the foreseeable future and the outcome was that a piece of land was purchased on which we want to build a home and a school for 35.  

Of course, the need is so much greater than 35 but starting small and taking it step by step is the wisest course of action.

Building a home and a school will help to give hope and a bright future to the poorest orphan and abandoned children and their families. It will change the lives and the image of the community. It will bring the light of Jesus into the lives of children and the community.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, I appreciate that some of you will not share my faith or belief but I know for sure that we will have a shared heart of compassion for helping the poor and the abandoned children here. 

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