I’m coming up on my sixth year with CURE and, to be honest, I got into this for the kids. I get to work for an organization that helps children walk, that saves children from fatal conditions like hydrocephalus, and sends children home without the physical disfigurement they arrived with. Pretty cool. Their smiles have often washed away the frustrations and headaches that can come with the work.
Over the past four years I’ve served in our hospital in Uganda, where we predominantly see babies suffering from hydrocephalus and spina bifida. A six week old baby with a big head isn’t always able to give those heart-warming smiles or say the cute things children can say. Working here has forced me to recognize the importance of our mission to the families of our patients, the mothers and fathers. Sure, I joined CURE to not only help the kids, but to bring the Gospel in tangible and real ways to communities crushed by poverty, oppression and corruption. However, it’s taken four years in Uganda to fully realize the scope of our mission to the mommas of these children (I’m not leaving out the fathers, but since mothers make up the majority of our caregivers, I’m keeping it simple by referring to the parents of our children as mommas).
Every month at our hospital in Uganda, about 100 mothers bring their babies to us, expecting a miracle. They are traveling across great distances, and spending precious resources, to reach us. Many have left homes they will likely not be able to return to, and, if they do, some will find their husbands and family members gone. They are abandoned, ostracized, harassed, abused, and beaten down. In societies where conditions like hydrocephalus and spina bifida are viewed as curses and the mother’s fault, these women are taking a huge step of faith to even consider making the trip to CURE.
Against all the odds, they come. Odds that you and I cannot even fathom. They arrive at our hospital, only to find it full of people who are dedicated to serving, respecting and loving them, and their world is turned upside down.
Yes, we will save the lives of over 1,000 children this year in Uganda, and that in itself has enormous implications and value. But for the mommas bringing us their babies, through long bus trips, their little ones hidden under blankets, against the wishes of their families and communities, we’re doing something just as important: We’re honoring them.