By Marchauna Rodgers

Luxury. I don’t know about you, but luxury isn’t a word that I would use to describe my life. I have a good life, but not a luxurious one. Since returning from Uganda, however, my outlook has changed. Compared to the average American on the news or movies, I don’t have a luxurious life. But compared to the faces and names from Uganda, my life is filled with dozens of luxuries. Luxuries I can often take for granted.
Here, when you get a headache, you grab a couple of pain killers and drink a cup of tap water. If it’s especially bad, maybe you grab a coffee at the local coffee stand. And if it gets bad enough, you go to urgent care where medical professionals can take care of your headache and everything.
For the average Ugandan orphan, there are no painkillers available. Access to water is limited, and in many cases it isn’t clean. Coffee is expensive and not easily accessible. There is no health insurance and urgent care is reserved for those who can pay. So, for something as simple as a headache, there is no relief.
One of the schools we visited in July is Divine Cornerstone Primary School. It was started in 2009, but the vision and calling for the school can be traced back to 1996, when members of Faith Baptist Church recognized the need of orphans in the Busembatia area for access to education. They wanted to educate those orphans, in the name of Jesus. It was a long difficult journey, because they didn’t have any way to pay for what they wanted to do. It became easier when God connected them with Pennies for Posho (www.penniesforposho.org); Pennies pays for food for the children, which is fantastic. Pennies also helps with some other costs. But their scope doesn’t include medicine. In very practical and brutal terms, that means children die. In fact, last year enrollment went from 310 to 205 because of “a lack of scholastic materials, illnesses and diseases.”
More than 100 children are no longer attending Divine Cornerstone Primary School at least in part because of a lack of access to even basic health care. It takes a while to understand that when you’re struggling to buy food, you don’t have extra to buy medicine. But overtime God opened my eyes and helped me see these Ugandan orphans as my neighbors.
The reality is, those Ugandan orphans are our neighbors. Matt 22:37, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . and . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV) That’s what drove me to start asking the questions that led to MAMO. What would I want someone to do for my baby if he had a fever and was feeling miserable? What would I want someone to do if I had an abscess on my neck and couldn’t afford to go see the doctor? What would I want someone to do if my daughter needed antibiotics to save her life and I couldn’t afford them?
We faced all those questions in Uganda. Each question is about a real person, with a name and a face. These aren’t arbitrary questions for me. And for what boils down to pocket change, we saved lives.
A life was saved with 45 cents. Seriously. For the price of a cup of coffee, we can buy two tubes of antibiotic ointment, or malaria treatment for five people. For the price of a bottle of water, you can literally save the life of a Ugandan child. And I live with the reality that every day children in Uganda are dying from lack of access to simple things like antibiotics and fever reducer. Every. Single. Day.
That reality also drives me to do whatever I can to make a difference in the lives of those precious children. Medical Assistance and Missional Outreach is becoming a reality. By God’s grace, in the two months since we returned from Uganda, God has brought together a board of directors, given us funding for a website, raised up people to manage the social media, finances, and administrative details. Our website, www.mamouganda.org, will be live on October 1. We have a GoFundMe account (you can find it under Marchauna Rodgers), and are working our 501(c)-3.
Our mission statement is “To care for the medical needs our ‘neighbors’ in Uganda and beyond by providing lifesaving medical resources and educational support.” We’re planning our first trip in February 2017.
Yes. This is a lofty endeavor. And we can’t do it alone. We need help. Because nothing we want to do is free. For about the price of a cup of coffee, we can treat five people for malaria. For the price of a bottled water, we can buy two rounds of life-saving antibiotics. For $20 we can provide a very simple basic medical kit for an entire school. No, saving lives isn’t free, but especially in Uganda, it is very cost-effective. And the impact will not only benefit the children whose lives are saved. By partnering with national Ugandan pastors and helping provide the resources so they can address the medical needs of the students in their schools, we can impact the very future of Uganda.
If you want to help, please visit our website. Visit us on Facebook. Check out our GoFundMe page. And consider joining us in this adventure. Allow yourself to step into the shoes of a Ugandan mama or daddy…picture your child and how hard it would be for you if you could do nothing to help them when they were sick. And ask yourself, what would you want a “neighbor,” a “Good Samaritan” if you will… what would you want someone to do? Then ask yourself, “Can I help MAMO do just that?”