Em and I really hardly knew what to expect of the ministry I had contacted back in November for us to work with this month of February in Uganda. I contacted them through their website and they were only so willing for us to come along and lend a hand so the discussions were short and the plans were quickly made, sight unseen! So today’s introduction to a lovely Texan missionary lady named Robin (who is so personable and easy to talk with!), her 2 adopted Ugandan daughters, Reya Joy and Sara Bella, her lovely Ugandan staff of “mothers”, Blessed and Desire, her handsome British boyfriend (goodness, I love those—handsome British boyfriends ;)), David, and the current babies (ooh!) in the rehabilitation ministry, was a long-awaited and exciting one :)
Basically, Robin and her team simply run the ministry out of her home and at the moment they have only 3 little boys, whom Em and I have spent the day cuddling and caring for and loving on. Jonathan is nearly 4 but he’s about the size of a small 2 year old. He’s HIV positive, has down syndrome, and autism. He reminds me so much of little Dragos from my time in Romania. They even do the same actions and make the same sounds! Then there’s Isaac (Zac) who is, I think 14 months. He’s GORGEOUS. He, like most all the babies who come to this rehabilitation ministry, was malnourished so he’s still catching up, not walking or talking yet, but he is one handsome little man and he’s in the process of being adopted by an American couple! So he’s only there til that goes through in the next few months. Then there’s Moses, who is 18 months old and SUCH a sweetheart! He was severely malnourished and is only now beginning to fatten up with a tremendously fatty diet, including olive oil in his milk bottles and butter and fattening supplements in all his food! He looks about 7 months old in size, and though he can sit up on his own, and seems to have pretty good upper-body strength to drag himself around, his legs are still very tiny and weak. But he is the most contented baby I have ever met, and has totally won our hearts with his dimpled chin, big smile, his charming little wave, and the way he plays the “where’s your nose?” game with his tiny little pointer finger! I’m afraid if I don’t watch her carefully, Emily might try to lovingly smuggle him away in her handbag :)
These babies have come to Acacia through all kinds of ways. Moses, for instance, was spotted lying under a tree when a friend of Robin’s who works with an AIDS/HIV organization was on a field visit to one of the islands on Lake Victoria. She thought he was a puppy until she drew up closer to find a very frail human baby there. Isaac’s father asked for Robin to help him find a family for his son when his mother died when he was only tiny. He used to have to carry Isaac around to do his work tied to his back like the mamas do with their babies here.
I said to Em earlier today how much I would love it if Acacia had a small baby girl, maybe 4 weeks or less, to love on this month—as someday I would love to adopt a brand new Ugandan baby. This afternoon, when Robin went out to run David somewhere, she noticed a young woman with a small bundle sitting under the shade of the trees outside her gate. She asked her if everything was okay and if she needed anything. She said she was fine, but Robin wasn’t so sure. Later, when she was still sitting outside the gate, Robin sent Blessed, one of the Ugandan “mothers” out to check on her. The young woman came into the house with Blessed and told her that she was 15 years old, had this baby a month ago, the father wasn’t around, and she didn’t know what to do. She had thought of having an abortion, but then couldn’t go through with it. She had thought of leaving the baby somewhere, but then couldn’t go through with it. And she needed help. Blessed (pronounced: Bless-ed) brought the tiny baby boy in to us. After Robin checked him out, she laid him in my arms. He smelt awful. He was wrapped up so tightly in layers and layers of sheets and blankets but as we unbundled him we discovered that he didn’t look too malnourished, just smelt sorely in need of a change and a bath. Robin called the local council member and she hurried over right away to be caught up on the situation. She warned the young mother firmly to tell the whole truth about the situation or she would be taken to the police, to out-rule her trying to take advantage of Acacia Tree. She also told her that if we take the baby, she will be required to visit family planning and get some free birth control or else she suspected she would be pregnant again tomorrow. The young mother didn’t speak a work of English. She never smiled. She looked so drained of life. I found all the LC (Local council member) said so very bold (but that’s the way it’s done) and felt a bit embarrassed for the young girl, as if my presence was intrusive on this very sensitive situation. But I rocked that sweet baby, and tried to feed him from his first bottle, and tried not to breathe in the smell, and ran my fingers across his softest of skin I’ve ever touched and over his softest of black curls on his head and prayed over the whole 9lbs of him…. And wondered at our God. Robin has had only these 3 boys since Dec (before that she had 12 babies!). Em and I only arrived today, and of all days, this young woman sat at the gate today with her precious little bundle…
Before the end of the day, the baby boy, whom will be called John, was signed over to our ministry for 6 months, his case to be reassessed then. Probably, the mother will want him to be adopted, and it will not be hard to find him a family… Oh, he is perfectly precious, from the top of his kitten-soft head to the tip of his baby smooth toes. And I might have fallen in love with him already :)
If the first day on the job has already held such excitement, what will tomorrow bring!
Oh, how can we live to be anything but His hands and feet in this world? What other point of life can there be?!
“Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him in prayer. Plead for your children as they faint with hunger in the streets.”
-- Lamentations 2:19
-- Lamentations 2:19