A little over three years ago, I had the opportunity to spend three entire weeks in Uganda! Without my family! It was a huge step of faith for me- and with the support of my amazing husband, I was blessed to go and see a part of the world I had always dreamed of visiting. My heart was to build connections there so we could learn as a communities how we can support one another.
With our team of 10, we spent time at an orphanage and school of around 200 children. We provided basic health assessments and treatment, helped with some painting and building projects, and offered events for the community.
As a mama of six at the time, and yet without my own kids with me, I found myself in this unusual space. I had time to simply be, to sit and talk (uninterrupted) with others at length, and to serve in ways beyond my normal mama roles. It was a precious gift that was so life-giving for me, and I know I returned a changed woman in so many ways.
Even with this freedom & change of roles and responsibilities, my mama heart was drawn to two places most readily: the children of course, and the mamas who took care of them. There was something so compelling for me about finding the shared experiences I had with them.
And in that, I found myself fascinated- or rather dumbfounded- by the huge volume of work that many of these women were responsible for.
Most of the homes had around 35 children living in them, with only one house mama. Apart from the school hours, she was the main source of love & attention for these little ones in their waking hours. Talk about feeling a renewed perspective about life with my own.
I loved watching the tasks of daily life, and the laundry process definitely stood out. Watching these women, bent over basins hand washing, rinsing and line-drying, for several hours a day certainly brought a fresh appreciation for the conveniences of our culture. And yet- the ordinary necessity of the task was so beautiful.
There’s something about laundry that’s a bit like that for me. It’s a thankless, virtually never-ending task. But the simplicity of wash, dry, fold and repeat is soothing on some level. And I have to say that being overseas with these women and children, sharing the common tasks of life, keeps me feeling grounded and in a place of gratitude and connection. We mamas are so alike, wherever we are- and I love that we can bless & encourage one another as we go about our daily tasks simply by knowing they are shared experiences.
Have you traveled to a developing nation? How do you best find yourself connecting with other moms, whether near or far?