This June, I’ll return to Uganda with Loving One by One Ministries (LOBO), for what will be my fifth trip to Uganda. To help bring LOBO’s work back to the forefront for some of my friends and readers, I’ve written several recent blog posts titled “Five Reasons to Go Back to Uganda,” and this is the fifth of those posts.
In the first four posts, I wrote about how kids shouldn’t have to struggle as much as they do in Uganda. I wrote about our immediate community surrounding LOBO’s home, and how we’re involved in strengthening our own neighborhood. I wrote about the shortage of food in Uganda, and how we’re working so moms no longer have to choose which of their children to feed on a given day. And, I wrote about some of the crazy, yet preventable, diseases Ugandans face and how LOBO has been able to provide medical care for thousands of men, women and children.
Today’s final Reason to Go Back to Uganda…. What’s the Alternative? If Loving One by One and other helping organizations don’t continue in Uganda, then what? The quality of life in Uganda, although currently difficult, will become disastrous for thousands of Ugandans, particularly Ugandan children. Life is hard in Uganda. But for many Ugandan children, it used to be worse until Loving One by One became involved. Now kids whose future was one of continued life in the slums actually have a really good chance of a better life. For many children and adults with malaria, a probable death has been exchanged for good health. For young moms who lacked the knowledge or ability to care for their kids, LOBO has provided food and education and mentoring, so there is now a better chance for a healthy future.
The work in Uganda is hard. Oh sure, it’s fun in kind of an odd way, and the people who go on our teams are cool, and the Ugandans we work with are great, and being on a LOBO team is an exciting adventure. It changes the team members in a good way – though it’s really not about us, we do benefit personally from the experience. But other stuff makes it difficult – it’s really expensive to be in Uganda for the long haul. Sometimes children we try to help don’t make it, and we’ve paid for more funerals than we’d like. We’ve been lied to and cheated by individuals and organizations. And while there are many things I could say about the Ugandan government, I’ll just say they don’t make it easy sometimes. All these problems make it tempting to go find another place to help people; Maui, for example.
But what’s the alternative? People are literally starving and sick and stuck in a cycle of poverty and while it’s difficult, we do actually have the ability to change the conditions of people and neighborhoods. Given enough time, we can affect an entire city. It’s difficult and requires huge commitment over the long haul, but it’s not impossible and we do have the ability to change things in Uganda. So how can we stop? We can’t. People in Uganda need help. We have the ability to provide that help. That’s why I keep going back.
Thank you for those who are helping to make that possible. And, thank you for taking the time to read this less-than-perky post today. As my thank-you gift for sticking with me through this one, here’s a family of Ugandan monkeys!