I’m not a big eater, nor a big person, but food plays a big part in my life. Meaning, I need to eat, just like everyone else. And if I don’t eat somewhat regularly, I get grumpy, kind of like a toddler. This past year I learned to cook better, and we’ve been known to make some pretty good meals at our house. We’ve also made some pretty good meal attempts, which didn’t always pan out (HA – get it? “pan” out). Anyway, food is a big deal for me.
Along with the word “food” comes another word – “options.” Like many or most Americans, if I don’t feel like eating what’s in my pantry or refrigerator, I can go to the store and buy something else and cook that instead. Or I can go to a cool cafe on the beach, or Burger King, or In & Out, or literally a hundred other places within minutes of my house. Almost every Saturday morning, I go to the bagel shop. For something that plays such a big role in my life, “food” is really never a serious problem.
But, I’m not a Ugandan mom. I’ve never had to choose which of my children gets to eat today, and which ones have to wait until tomorrow. My child never had failing grades in school because of being hungry. When my daughter was a baby, she never developed any life-threatening illnesses due to malnutrition. But it’s quite a bit different for millions of Ugandan families – there’s not a supply of forgotten food in anyone’s pantry, most don’t have refrigerators (or electricity), there’s no In & Out Burger nearby (the horror), and the struggle to just put something, anything, into a child’s stomach can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, Loving One by One is able to help many families in our local community with our Nutrition Program. When we discover a starving child or children, we immediately get involved with the family to see if they are willing to let us help. We deliver food to the family, and make weekly visits to ensure the food is being used. We take malnourished children for treatment with a local clinic, and sometimes we bring malnourished children to our home to provide nourishment until they are well enough to return home.
The little girl in the photos at the top of this post is Elizabeth, a girl we found in our community in the summer of 2016. Elizabeth and her twin sister Maria were around two years old at the time, but they each weighed the amount of a newborn. Along with other severe disabilities, Elizabeth was blind in both eyes. The photo on the right is Elizabeth when she came to stay with us; the other photo is Elizabeth six weeks later. She has since been returned to her home, under the supervision of an elderly woman in our village (Elizabeth’s mother has not been able to provide much care). We have been following up with the growth and development of both girls for the past three years. They will continue to have a challenging life ahead – but they’re not alone, and as long as we’re in the neighborhood, they can count on us.
If you would like to support my work in Uganda this summer, or would like further info on the work of Loving One by One, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.