It was a sweltering day in northern Uganda. We had been to a number of villages and orphanages already that had completely broken our hearts. Nothing, however, it seemed had prepared me for this stop. We were at a small home run by a precious dutch woman. We each quickly grabbed babies to hold and love while the leader shared her story. This sweet woman spent her days loving and caring for babies infected with AIDS. She and her team cared for them 24/7, nursing them back to health if at all possible and then returning them to their mamas in the villages. Often times, the babies were too sick to be nursed back to health and died in her care.
She pointed to the wall behind her, covered in polaroids of precious little ones. Hundreds of photos. She knew every name and lovingly touched each picture while telling us their stories. “The stars,” she said with tears filling her eyes, “are the ones that didn’t make it.”
She wept. We wept. We held the babies in our arms a little tighter. We looked at this woman with a little more awe. Each of us thought to ourselves, “how does she do this? How do you love and care for a baby 24/7 only to lose them….one after the other? How do you handle that kind of pain?”
Anxious to help in some way, I quickly asked her about her funding.
She sighed peacefully and told us that thankfully, funding was not an issue for her. She had a team of people throughout Europe that kept their home and their mobile medical help funded. She turned and looked seriously into my eyes, “If funding were an issue for me, like it is for so many others, I don’t know if I could do this anymore. I don’t know if my shoulders could handle even one more worry.”
This. This is why we fundraise.
WE have the easy part. Giving up a Starbucks or two so that I can donate $10…..writing a FB status to spread the word….emailing or calling friends to ask if they will help…..this is NOTHING compared to what our field partners do.
These men and women across the world are doing the HARD work of investigating brothels. I can’t even imagine the horror of what they see on a daily basis. These men and women run safe houses. They hold broken girls while they GRIEVE what has happened to them. They walk with them through deep pain, through story after story of the atrocities that have happened to them.
By giving up our starbucks, by fundraising and giving of our money, we can help shoulder the burden for the people who are doing the HARD work in the field. My “easy” work (comparatively speaking) frees them to do the hard work. This is my part. This is what I can do. When you fully realize what these brave men and women really do, you want more than anything to come alongside them. I may not be able to take my friend who runs a safe house out for coffee or pay for her to get a pedicure, just to help her in her burden. I may not be able to hold her while she cries for the pain she has witnessed this week. But….I can do something. I can take this ONE thing off of her shoulders. Off of the shoulders of the folks who do the hard, hard work of protecting, rescuing, restoring and reintegration precious broken ones.
By giving, I can help ease one burden off of their shoulders so that they can do the hard work.
This. This is why we fundraise.
What an honor.