Mommy Emily’s Story
She walked for four hours just to meet me.
Her soles were red from Uganda’s earth and she didn’t break a sweat in the high heat. Her eyes shone but she lowered them, looked at her sandals, even as I reached out a hand to touch her shoulder, and I could feel the strength in this peasant farmer’s arm.
She’d lost her husband just weeks earlier to HIV/Aids, an illness people still talk about in hushed tones because of the shame associated with it.
She’d lost her children long before that to this children’s home I was visiting–because she had a sick husband to care for and a farm that wasn’t bringing in money and no way to feed her sons or daughters.
And here I was on a blogger’s trip, able to pay for her kids’ clothes and education while she wasn’t. And not because I worked harder. No, she worked sun-up to sundown and had callouses across her hands and feet. It was because I come from a first class country overflowing with food and privilege while the rest of the world is forced to feed from our trash cans.
I smiled at her, but I felt sick.
I am a mother. Every night I walk into my boys’ room and ache for them lying there in their beds, because they’re tucked deep in my womb. I cannot imagine how humbling, or humiliating, it would be, to have to ask someone else to take care of my children. To not be able to give them food or water, to not be able to keep them under my own roof-and THEN, to walk four hours to meet the woman who could?
Our Father weeps. He anguishes over every single mother–because there are hundreds of thousands of them across Africa who cannot afford to care for their children.
And He’s asking us to do something about it.
Sponsoring a child is good, don’t get me wrong.
But standing there with this beautiful woman, her son’s eyes shining as he looked at me, I thought, There has to be more.
I wanted this boy to look at his MOTHER with adoration, not me–a stranger.
So, I went home and five months later, in June of 2014, I very naively founded a not-for-profit called The Lulu Tree. I didn’t intend to found an organization. I didn’t–and still don’t–feel qualified to start one; I just wanted to partner with someone who was doing what I wanted to do. But no one was.
Our vision at Lulu is to love Jesus by equipping destitute families to care for their own kids. We also care for orphans and do mama kit rescue outreaches in slums and refugee camps. Our slogan is “Preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s families with the greater purpose of becoming one family in Christ.”