This past summer The Lucas Legacy had the opportunity to partner with Embracing Children Adoption Services (ECAS) to serve the children in Kammengo, Uganda. ECAS offered a meal to the children within the community and The Lucas Legacy distributed crocs to every child.
The afternoon started off with us arriving to be greeted by 300 children who had gathered for the event. ECAS and The Lucas Legacy staff worked alongside community members to get lunch cooked up for the waiting kids. Rice, plantains, meat, and a drink were dished up for each child and adult. Everyone was overjoyed, and not a single grain of rice was leftover!
After lunch The Lucas Legacy distributed crocs to every child who was present. It took some sorting out, but by the end of the afternoon you could see the kids walking through the village in their brightly colored shoes!
All in all, it was a great day. There is nothing better than coming alongside the local community members who work hard everyday to better the lives of the children entrusted to them.
The Lucas Legacy completed its first project on the 27th of June, while two of the founding members (myself - Anna, and Maria, TLL creative designer) were in Uganda. A day that started out normal for the staff and children of Sanyu turned into a joy-filled party when they saw this truck roll in just a little after noon:
We had been in the offices speaking with the director of the home when the cheers started. "Pampers! Pampers! Pampers!" The Sanyu mamas were clapping their hands and watching amazed as men carried package after package of baby diapers in to the home.
With the Pampers stacked high, and everyone smiling and celebrating, my heart felt about to burst. How can simple diapers bring hope like this? With an average of fifty little ones in diapers living at Sanyu, imagine how tiring and tedious changes would get if you were using cloth towels and plastic tied on around their waists. Imagine how quickly wet and dirty pants would get old, how fast the laundry would pile up, and how fast the small supply of clean water would run dry.
With the support of SO many of you, this diaper drop was only the first of many more. Because of lack of space to store the Pampers, only about 1/3 have been delivered so far, and the rest will be brought throughout the year.
Changed for a Year, the Pampers diaper drop, is The Lucas Legacy's very first project. We've learned a lot, and had to be flexible with our plans. Our original drop date was set for September of 2013, to allow us an entire year of fundraising. However, when I ended up traveling to Uganda to pick up my newly adopted son in June, we rearranged our plans so I could be in country for the first drop-off.
Soon, The Lucas Legacy will begin funding a new project, however, we would love to continue supporting Sanyu Babies Home with Pampers for as long as possible. It only costs us $25 a day to provide the diapers they need.
If just 30 friends of The Lucas Legacy would commit to becoming a monthly donor of only $25, we would be fully funded to continue blessing Sanyu with the Pampers they need, helping to create a feeling of comfort and dignity for the children living there. Would you like to be a monthly donor?
Friends I am so happy to say that we will be doing our first diaper extravaganza within the next two weeks while me, Maria Smith, (Lucas Legacy designer) and Anna Guntlisbergen (Lucas Legacy CEO) are in Uganda! We have been so blessed by the donations and gifts that all of you have given within this past year, and we are so excited to bless the babies of Sanyu Baby Home with these diapers. Through coordinating with the staff at Sanyu and our unexpected yet joy filled trip to Kampala we are happy and proud to be acting on our first goal! Changed for a year has been a great success and we thank you. Stay tuned for pictures and possibly videos of the precious moment when a multitude of God's little children are blessed because of your faithfulness. If you would like to join in on the excitement, there's always time! Head on over to the website (http://www.thelucaslegacy.org) and donate or just be in prayer that everything with this diaper drop happening within the next couple weeks goes smoothly. We thank you again and are joyous that you have chosen to walk beside us on this journey! God Bless!
this post has been a long time in the making,
and it has been going around and around in my mind
even as i was too sick to sit down and just let it out.
i learned a lot on the last trip to uganda,
though it felt oh so short.
it will definitely take more than one post
to talk about everything i discovered, realized, loved and lost.
but in such a small amount of time,
i was reminded of something that i see each time i'm in africa,
but that i don't always talk as much about to my friends, here.
i don't know for sure.
maybe it is because it is a bit embarrassing at times,
and it is really hard to admit,
and it makes me miss that continent more than ever.
every time i go, i come back knowing this-
my goodness, those women are real,
they are brave and strong
and i look up to them more than i can even try to describe.
those women - the mamas at the different homes -
they know about hard love
and they know so much more than me about living on empty.
living on empty, for me, is so silly,
i almost can't say it.
living on empty, for me, looks like a rainy evening-
can you picture it?
it is raining, and i know the car is almost out of gas,
so i'm annoyed.
and i didn't park it in the garage.
and there are two in the driveway.
there are two cars in the driveway,
but mine is almost out of gas and it's raining.
maybe the baby is crying, so i'm frustrated,
and i'm out of diapers, except for the safety ones,
but those ones have the extra sticky tabs i don't like,
and they fit the baby a little funny.
i just put my hair up, and washed the makeup off my face,
and now me and the crying baby have to go out in the rain,
into the car,
drive to the gas station
[and not even the gas station i like, because i don't have enough gas for that]
get out in the rain,
wait for the car to fill up,
go to Target with the crying baby,
buy the diapers i like,
and go home.
it's a made up scenario, but it is as close to anything
real for the hardships i face in this beautiful life i live.
living on empty, for those daring, amazing women,
looks so much different.
living on empty for them means there are fifty-five diapers left,
and fifty-seven babies,
and they don't like putting those little tinies in towels
because of course it feels funny,
and it gets wet and it stinks,
but they do it anyways so that the babies can wear a real diaper
to bed tonight, and sleep in a bit of comfort they don't always have.
living on empty looks like rice.
a lot of rice.
but my word, if they don't smile as they are passing it out.
living on empty looks like thirty spoons too few,
but each baby gets to eat.
it looks like a lot of crying,
and a lot of mess,
it looks like food in the mouths' of babies who don't want it,
and those mamas keep feeding them,
because they know food means life,
and i love you too much to let you go
means they are going to keep trying until that food goes down
living on empty looks tired and it looks rough.
it looks like a group of women who have decided,
these babies are going to make it,
and when one falls down and cries,
he gets a pat, and gets told "sorry, baby,"
but then he is back up with the rest,
because that means life for him.
and it is everyday for these women.
back up and back at it.
i think they are my heroes.
and i hope when i'm a mother, i can be as real and beautiful as them.
We can’t believe that we have been up and running for SIX months now! We value the support, interactions, and relationships we’ve had with each one of you – and we want to give you an update on what The Lucas Legacy has accomplished in our first half a year, and what our goals are from now until September.
The Lucas Legacy has already raised enough funds to provide 27 babies with clean diapers for an entire year. By the end of September, we hope to have a year’s supply of fresh, clean diapers for all fifty little ones at Sanyu Babies Home.
In order to stay on track with our strategic funding, we only need to raise $500 to meet our $5000 six month goal!
There are many ways you can partner with us to make a difference in the lives of these orphaned children:
- Become a monthly donor
- Sponsor a baby for one month, six months,
or one year!
- Make a purchase at our Legacy Shop
- Donate the amount of your choice
Finally, finally, I am giving myself a moment to sit down and write.
Lately, it has seemed hard just to find the time to do much of anything that doesn't involve... well, a lot of things.
First of all, I want to go back to October third, the third anniversary of Lucas' death.
So many people from all around the world joined in to celebrate his life, and i couldn't have been more proud of him, or more grateful to you.
The evening before The Lights for Lucas celebration,
I was home alone. I sat and cried in the dark, reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and asking God why He chooses to bless me when my doubt is so ugly.
The next morning i was tired.
My eyes were bloodshot and puffy.
I rose early, with the sun still sunk below the horizon
and lit my candles for Lucas.
The flames blazed in the darkness of the house,
burning quietly as they flickered and licked shadows and walls.
I thought about last year, and the things i know about my son that i didn't know then - like that his grave is in an open field of grass and goats, surrounded by hundred of others just like it, and there isn't a big shade tree to cover it, and there is no mound of red dirt. Just weeds and ants and dying dogs.
Throughout the day i received pictures of candles
and for a day that could have been terribly lonely - it wasn't.
It amazes me every day to see the lives that have been touched by Lucas. The success of The Lucas Legacy is a great testament to that.
Sometimes my bones ache with a tiredness i know
only comes from loss.
But, sometimes, that loss doesn't feel so heavy -
especially when i realize it isn't a burden i carry alone.
Again, Thank You,
with The Lucas Legacy Team
The Lights for Lucas Celebration was such a successful event. Thank you all for participating, and for taking a moment out of your busy lives to light a candle and remember the waiting children all around the world.
Last year was the first time we celebrated A Light for Lucas. Friends and strangers lit candles all around the world in honor of a little boy who has touched so many lives.
I never could have imagined that when Lucas died at nine months old, his story would grow and change forever.
This year, October third will mark the anniversary of Lucas' death - he passed away from sickle cell anemia three years ago in Uganda.
To the world he may have been an orphan -but to me he was a son. Lucas has changed my life - made me into a better person. His story has impacted many - including his orphaned brothers and sisters in Africa.
This year will be the second Lights for Lucas celebration.
I invite you all to join in, all you need is a candle.
This year's celebration is in memory of Lucas, but also in honor of all the other babies waiting for a home, and a hope.
This past year I have realized that my heart's connections to African orphans comes directly from the fact that they are Lucas to the rest of the world.
Lucas never was adopted. he died waiting for a forever family. My heart aches to offer those little ones the same things that i wish i could have offered Lucas.
I want them to be remembered. to be cherished. to be prayed for. And to live with dignity while they wait.
This year, on October third, wherever you are, please join with me in simply lighting a candle for every child around the world that is living without a family to call their own.
I would also ask you to consider visiting the Lights for Lucas event page to make a donation to Sanyu - the baby home where Lucas was staying when he died.
All donations will go directly to our current project of providing Sanyu with enough diapers to change their fifty babies for a year.
These little ones deserve everything we would give our own children. They deserve everything i would have given Lucas, had i been given the chance to bring him home.
I truly believe we can change the world if we let our compassion move us to action.
Every baby deserves dignity, comfort, and love.
Visit Lights for Lucas to find out more about how you can get involved.
Changed for a year.
We are beyond thrilled to finally be able to announce that our very first project is underway.
All the funds raised will be used to purchase disposable diapers for Sanyu Babies Home. Sanyu is the oldest children's home in Kampala, Uganda, and has beds to house 50 little ones - all four years old or younger.
We chose Sanyu for our first project for a number of reasons - the first being Lucas. Lucas spent the last months of his life at Sanyu, waiting for a family. Because the main purpose of The Lucas Legacy is the waiting orphan, it made sense for us to partner with Sanyu as our first beneficiary.
Three Legacy staff have spent time at Sanyu, building relationships and trust with the administrator and staff there. The home does an amazing job at caring for their children, but the need there is still great. With no funding from the government, they have to make do with a lot less than anyone would like.
Sanyu goes above and beyond the call of giving abandoned babies a place to stay. They have started many self-sustaining projects already - including a craft shop set up in a refurbished train car, a rainwater harvesting project, a chicken hatchery, a garden, and a guesthouse.
The mamas who care for the little ones often work ten hour shifts, doing the best with what they have - which, like I mentioned, isn't always much.
One of the biggest needs at the home is disposable diapers. With the amount of babies needing to be changed, and the high cost of diapers, many of the children develop terrible, painful diaper rash from staying in a dirty diaper too long. Often times there are no diapers at all, and the babies are wrapped in towels to try to keep them as clean as possible.
Imagine working a ten hour shift, caring for 40 - 50 infants and toddlers without diapers. 4,500 diapers are needed every single month to insure that each child is changed just three times a day. In America it is common for one baby to be changed five to ten times each day.
By providing diapers to this home, the mamas will be able to concentrate on things other than cleaning up after baby's accidents. The babies will be more comfortable, and cleaner. They will be less likely to develop horrible diaper rash.
We will be working with a wholesale provider who is located in Kampala to get the lowest cost on diapers while also supporting local vendors. More information about the logistics of this project will be shared in the coming future.
We thank you for being a part.
The Lucas Legacy