Today, we volunteered at Sanyu Babies’ Home, and it was probably my favorite day of ministry on the World Race.
When we arrived, we had a short orientation with one of the administrators, who had the quietest voice I’ve ever heard. If you’ve seen the movie pitch perfect, it reminded me of the Asian girl, haha.
After our orientation, we headed inside to the main building. As soon as I walked through the door, there were babies everywhere. They had just woken up, and the staff and volunteers were bathing and feeding them. One little guy, Felix, was about to crawl out the door, so I grabbed his hand, helped him up onto his shaky feet, and led him away from the door.
I thought we were going to tour the home first, but then someone asked me, “Do you want to feed some babies?”
“Sure.” I said. As I was waiting for the next baby to be brought in, I sat on the ground, and Felix crawled right over to me, grabbed my shoulder to pull himself up, and gave me a huge hug.
My heart just melted. After all of the baby fever that I’ve had lately, I felt so known by the Lord, that He knew we were going to be there on that day, that literally right after stepping in the door, I would get a big baby hug, and that it was exactly what my heart needed.
Felix was taken to go to the playroom, and another baby, Daniel, was brought out, and given to me to feed him. He was probably 4 months old or so, and as he drank his bottle, I was taken back to my nannying days, when I would sit and feed 6 month old Finley.
After Daniel ate, since he was one of the littlest babies, he was put back in his crib for a nap. I headed over to the playroom, which was filled with babies, toys, staff, and volunteers. When I sat down on the floor, immediately two babies came right over, and gave me hugs. We spent the next few minutes playing, but then I was asked to help mop the floor in the main house. I went to help mop, and then went back to the playroom as soon as I could.
I played with the babies for a few hours, and a few of them really captured my heart. Vivian, one of the older babies, loved to point to everything. She’s one and a half, and when she was reprimanded by one of the staff for hitting me, she dissolved into a toddler tantrum on the floor. I couldn’t help but laugh. Helen was one of the smallest in size, but she has a big personality. Duncan loves to cuddle, and after I fed him, he stayed in my lap for about an hour. They kept stealing the glasses off of my face, and I had to hide them a few times behind my back. They would get really perplexed when the glasses just “disappeared”.
After that, we took the babies outside, to play. They have a play yard, but the staff wanted to bring them outside the gate so they could see the outside world. Which was a bit stressful for me because the road was ten feet away with mutatus and bodas whizzing by. Most of the babies just sat on the mat and watched, but a few were adventurous and wanted to explore. I put myself in charge of making sure the runaways didn’t actually run (or crawl, lol) away.
When it was time to go inside, I grabbed a little girl with an adorable pink dress. As I was carrying her inside, I started smelling something really awful. I thought it was something from outside, which wouldn’t be that surprising because I’ve smelled some pretty bad stuff around the world.
I kept smelling it, and I was like, “Man, that is really bad.” It didn’t smell like a poopy diaper, though. That’s when I realized my armpit was totally soaked. I knew I couldn’t have sweat that much, especially on just one side, and then I saw that her dress was covered in vomit. Not spit up. Full blown chunks. I’m not a reactive puker, but I gagged and had to try really hard not to vomit myself. And, of course, I hadn’t thought to bring an extra shirt.
“Ummm, I think she needs a change of clothes,” I told one of the staff. They were getting ready to eat lunch, so we just took her dress off, and she would have a bath after eating. We also got to help feed the babies their lunch, which was some kind of rice and corn mixture.
As they were finishing up lunch, it was time for our team to head out. We were tired and stinky, but we all loved it. It was such a blessing for me, and it really spoke to my heart.
Sanyu Babies’ Home has been around for over 80 years, and is one of the top orphanages in Uganda. It was started when a woman who worked at the hospital realized that there were so many babies who were orphaned or unwanted, so she established a home that would love and care for the babies. They stay there until they are 4, and then they are transferred to one of two partnering orphanages.
And, for the icing on top of the cake, tonight as my team and I were doing listening prayer (prayer where you sit and listen for what the Lord is saying rather than just talking at Him), He spoke to me about babies.
As I was listening, my mind was wandering a bit, and it wandered to the babies, and how much fun and how natural and at home I felt with them. Before the question had even formed in my mind, I heard Him say, “You will.” As in, you will be a mom.
And my heart was at peace.