The King of Mengo
8 years ago, we found a young boy named John at a home for the elderly in Kampala, Uganda. John had no use of his hands because they were formed backwards. His mother had deserted him at the home.
John was a bright, happy child of nine years old, with all his mental facilities. He didn't have much to do at the home for the elderly. Loving One By One had been serving at a school for the disabled in Kampala, so she talked to the headmistress about taking John in where he could be with children his own age. He and another girl at the elderly home were both accepted. We found sponsors to cover their expenses.
Over the past 6 years John has been learning how to play chess. He moves the pieces with his mouth, or sometimes his feet. Not only has he learned to play chess, but he has become quite a champion winning medals.
In 2017, Disney released a full length feature titled "The Queen of Katwe", a true story about a young slum girl named Phiona Mutesi who learns to play chess from her teacher Robert Katende. Phiona became a world champion and a book was written about her and Robert. Then Disney made the movie..... which could be the end of the story... but... wait.. there's more !! (As Ron Popeil used to say on his infomercials)
The very same Robert Katende is now John's chess teacher. John has been blossoming as a chess champion and even though he is still only 16 years old, John has been defeating adults much older than he.
August 2018, Robert Katende and John, along with his friend Wasswa headed to Philadelphia to compete in the World Championships for Disabled Persons. Good for you John, we are all so proud of you.
As Robert calls them, "Persons of Different-abilities." They truly are. Before they left, Sherry had a chance to meet the actual stars of the Disney "Queen of Katwe." Phiona is now attending the University of Washington... Maybe with God's blessing, something like that will happen for John too.. we are all praying..