In 2010, three college friends named Travis, Krystin, and Megan went to Uganda for a semester to volunteer at an orphanage called L'esperance Children's Aid. I'm the third one, Megan, and I feel honored to get to invite you into our story.
Having Skyped with the orphanage director only once before leaving, we weren't sure what to expect when we arrived in Uganda. We quickly learned that there was nothing to fear. Wilbroad, the orphanage director, was an incredible host and and even more incredible director. Our time there was beautiful. Simple and wholehearted. We fell in love with the Children of L'esperance and our trust and admiration for Wilbroad's dedication to the kids continued to grow.
While there, we got to connect our communities back here in the US with our new friends in Uganda. A classroom in America knew the names of kids their age and brought their allowances and lunch money to a jar to buy L’esperance kids books and clothes. Our college friends saved the lives of two high school girls by getting them out of a horrible home situation and into school. Our church loved their church, sending thousands of dollars in support. It was life changing to have the privilege of connecting two worlds and watching as they changed each other’s lives. Deep and lasting relationships were fostered during those five months and continued over next four years.
Since coming back stateside, we loosely kept up the relationship by sponsoring our Ugandan friends so they could go to college or helping Wilbroad with small initiatives. We knew the orphanage was going to have to relocate before we left in 2010 and two years later, they moved.
From the beginning, Wilbroad has wanted the orphanage to become completely sustainable. He wants to get to a point where they aren't crossing their fingers each month waiting for donations from the outside. That was the whole reason he invited us as volunteers in the first place. But the quarter of a million dollars Wilbroad needed to reach that goal of sustainability was overwhelming for the three of us.
Then came the summer of 2014. It was that summer that Wilbroad told me how they lost most of their dormitories and their school in the relocation and had no funds left to rebuild. So at the time, only 20 of the 78 kids had a home and all of them were going to boarding school far away.
This was extremely unsettling to me. It was information I couldn't un-hear. I wrestled for longer than I'd like to admit about whether it was truly up to me to help. Then one day, I realized: If not me, then who?
So I moved back to my home town and started telling the L'esperance story. To my relief, the situation at L'esperance wasn't okay with my community either. And what was $500 became $2,500. And then $5000. Then $11,000. Before we knew it, we had enough to fund our first sustainable project at L'esperance: a poultry farm with one thousand baby chicks.
And with that, Weight of Glory Orphan Care was born.
Weight because caring is heavy. Glory because I promise you that entering into stories like this is the absolute best thing you can do with your one and only life.
The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humilty can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. -C.S. Lewis
Megan Sutherland - Summer 2015