It was dusty. If you had touched my face, you would have found enough sand to exfoliate my skin. It was hot. I had a blister that was being rubbed in all the wrong places, my feet were hurting…
And, I wanted to remember all of it.
It was the last day we visited Destiny Village of Hope in Uganda, the location where the baby rescue homes are being built.
The heat, the dust, the pain didn’t stop me from jumping rope. My husband and younger children helped make long jump ropes for the African children. I brought them to Destiny. I showed the children, but they weren’t quite sure what to do with them. I gave them balls to play with, too. Those needed no explanation, but the children were hesitant with the ropes. I coaxed a few of my team members to demonstrate, myself included.
The children gazed, but the African house mamas actually joined in. I absolutely loved seeing them laugh and jump. I thought of my labor as a mama, where I have instant access to running water, electric power always live, washing machine and dryer that never stops tumbling, and all the weary days that wear me thin.
And I thought of their labor. These mamas, that wash clothes with their bare hands in buckets with water drawn and carried from a well, taking care of children that weren’t born to them, as if they were their own, and living sacred worship and a pure religion — caring for the orphan so they wouldn’t be orphans any more. Here they play, and I wonder when the last time it was that they did.
They are heroes to me, and definitely to those babies. Though neither probably see it that way.
This mama jumped rope with the house mamas that help care for the babies, those rescued babies in the rescue homes. It was such an honor, and one of my favorite memories.
That day, one of those babies stayed close to me, and the volleyball I brought from home — she made sure — stayed close to her. She reminded me of my baby girl, when she was a little younger, how she followed me around, her little arm wrapped around my leg, wanting me to hold her every chance I could.
Every time had to put that baby girl down to turn a rope or toss a ball to another child, she’d come close to my legs and wait until I picked her up again. I held her as much as I could.
As my time there was ending, I carefully hobbled over to one of the unfinished homes. My foot was throbbing, but I knew this was my last chance. I wanted to be fully present, so I’d remember. I stood at the incomplete entryway to the home, looked down at my feet on the foundation standing next to that brick, and I captured this moment and told myself to remember.
Remember this, remember the heat, the dust, the pain, the jumping rope, the balls rolling, the children playing, the mamas laughing. Remember, when you go back to the comforts of home. Remember your purpose for being here. Remember, when you have everything you need to provide for your own children, the millions of children who are still without help, without hope. Remember the one, and how you felt when you looked into their eyes. Remember how they longingly looked into yours. Remember how they held you, and how your heart-beated and soul throbbed when they did. Remember their dusty skin next to yours. Remember why you’ve been given, what you’ve been given, and remember to live your life in a such a way it could help save another.
I made my way to the pile of rubble, the same one that could be make into a home one day, taking each step carefully as not to lose balance, scouting out a piece of a brick I could take home with me. I didn’t want a whole brick, not one the builders could use. I wanted just a piece.
I knew where it would go when I returned home — in the place I spend so many waking hours caring for my family. I took a piece of Africa with me and put it on the sill of the window at my kitchen sink, so every time I saw it, I’d remember — it’s more than just a rock.
The building is more than just brick and mortar, it means souls. The babies I embraced, those who embraced me, they are flesh, heartbeat, soul, spirit. They are children who have been forgotten by most, remembered and rescued by a few who have given their lives to live a mission of redemption on their behalf.
I don’t want to be counted among those who’ve forgotten them.
We are STILL raising funds to build Phase 2 of the rescue home project.
This month, World Help is offering our supporters the chance to send a personalized e-card to a loved one when they give ANY dollar amount, to the Rescue Homes project. It’s a Valentine’s Day card that will change lives!
Consider giving a few dollars? Click HERE for more info, and to send an e-card.
Joining in community with a dear friend, Jennifer Lee.