Yesterday when we went to the Outreach Clinic we were greeted by a new batch of kids that were there to be treated. I stood around for a while a bit uneasy of what there was for me to do. It always feels a bit awkward to be standing around a group of people that are there to get help. All of our eyes are on them, and they aren’t quite sure what is going on or who all these strange people are.

I felt as though I should have walked around back and found something else to do besides stand and stare. These children are so vulnerable and so needy and I felt as though I had nothing to offer. I didn’t have shoes for them. I didn’t have a way to help their feet to stop hurting. I couldn’t get in the shower with them and bathe them.

But then I did what any momma does when a kids needs help.

They see the struggle, and they help.

A little boy freshly cleaned, stepped out of the shower for his lotion and new clothes. New clothes people. When these children show up they are wearing the most ragged clothes you have ever seen, and it’s probably what they wear every day of their lives. Now we have just given them a new shirt, new shorts, new undies and new clean socks.

As this little man stepped out of the shower he was struggling getting his clothes on. Standing on his feet was painful, and now we were asking him to get fresh clothes on by himself without getting his clothes dirty, or himself.

So, I saw his struggle and then stepped in to help. Helping kids get dressed is something that this momma of four can do that!

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We found a shirt that fit him perfectly.

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As all momma’s do, I wiped away the excess water on his face with his own shirt. I wanted him to feel completely clean and refreshed in his brand new clothes.

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After all was set, I wanted to show him some love. To reassure him that he mattered. I looked into his eyes and smiled at him, wanting him to know that he is known, loved, and cared for.

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Finally after a few stomach tickles I received a faint smile. A reminder that all little boys are alike, whether they are in Uganda or Austin.  They love to be tickled and appreciated. To look into his eyes and show him that he matters and that I care was what I could do. I didn’t have to stand around and feel uncomfortable, but I could get next to the kids, help them get new clean clothes on, tickle their tummies, and show them that they matter.

They all matter.

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All photos by Gary S Chapman

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