Ruth Davis is the Fundraising & Administrative Officer for Potters Village, a child crisis centre in Kisoro, South West Uganda.
In 1997 Ruth was part of the Bath & Wells Diocesan Youth Exchange to Zambia and her interest and passion to work in development came from that first visit to Africa. Here she tells us how her calling unfolded.
Hailstones and Mosquito nets was a book title suggested by a friend, that I should write about my experiences of living and working in Africa. I think at this stage in my life it would be a fairly short book, but it did get me thinking about those people whose stories should be written down. Those long term missionaries, who give their lives to live in difficult places so that they can spread the Gospel and who often get very little worldly thanks or appreciation.
I realised a while ago that I was never going to be one of those people; it’s not my calling, because it’s not my strength. It has taken me a while to understand that. Since my first visit to Africa aged 16, I have loved travelling. Even until my first stint in Uganda I was completely convinced that working in development, for me, meant committing a large proportion of my life to living overseas, with all that, that life entailed.
After I finished my degree I worked in many different job roles, but I really struggled to find focus and a path until around five years ago. I was working as a PA and was really trying to find what I should do. I decided to do a Masters degree in Human Nutrition. After much deliberation and prayer, I decided to use all my savings to go and do this degree, because this would be my career. I graduated and once again found myself unemployed and in temping jobs. This was not supposed to happen.
After a year of temping work, some friends told me of the small charity called The Potter’s Village, which was a child crisis centre in south west Uganda. I wrote to them and they were keen to have me, for as long as I wanted to go. Potter’s village is situated in the town of Kisoro in the shadow of the Muhabura volcano. Needless to say I didn’t enjoy my first few weeks, but when you realise you are actually saving babies lives, it puts your problems into perspective.
Potter’s Village cares for vulnerable babies from the age of 0 – 2yrs, their remit is to rescue babies who have no other chance of survival and sadly there are many. This area is still suffering from the effects of the conflict in Rwanda and the continuing unrest in the Congo. Large families lead to shortages of food and for the more rural communities a complete lack of pre or anti natal care adds to the medical complications. That alongside the larger issues of HIV/AIDs, Malaria and typhoid all make life harsh, exhausting and just downright unfair.
But Potter’s Village gives these children a second chance and it gave me one too. I realised with honesty my calling was not going to be the idealistic vision I had created of a one woman struggle to feed the starving and heal the sick, but that God was calling me, to do his work in a different way.
I still work for Potter’s Village, but I now head their UK operations (which let’s be honest currently amounts to me managing myself!). I fundraise and do all the administrative work to help support the staff on the ground, so they can keep saving these tiny fragile lives.
How do I know it’s my calling? All I know is that it is what God wants me to do at this time. I have argued along the way many times, but I trust that this is the path he has given me and when you accept that, it is a truly comforting thought.
For more information on Potter’s Village, visit their website.