Archive | March, 2013

Uganda, March 2013

30 Mar

Memories are gifts that keep us from forgetting all of the moments in our life that have made a significant impact. They mold us, shape who we are, and can have tremendous influence on how we live our lives.

I am once again grateful for the opportunity to travel to Uganda, Africa; to learn, to inspire, to create life-long relationships, and to lift the spirits of children creating a little light in their lives.

Each time I visit Africa I am inspired by what I learn and what I observe in the the culture. The way of life is so different and it really makes you appreciate how easy life has become. From washing clothes, making deliveries, walking to school, gathering water, building structures, working in the fields, growing their food; it all is hard work that takes up hours of their day. Nothing about these things is like home in the US.

What is like home is the need for positive human connection and interaction. Children are playful and want to know you, they hold your hand, and are truly excited to see you. They go school, play soccer (football), sing songs, scream and get frustrated with their peers. They are children.

I think about the impact I alone have made and what my 16 other team members made. I am inspired by the potential that can continue to be made if we stand together with our eyes open and our hearts ready to help.

Whether called to help individuals in the United Sates, Africa, Mexico, the Philippines, China….one thing I have found to be true is there must be a high value on life to create change. If we can help instill this value in others and empower them with confidence, hope and respect for each other positive changes occur. Changes in all aspects of life don’t happen by simply standing on the sideline and hoping things will change. It takes a willingness to stretch beyond our comfort zones and be part of the change. Together, our team has truly done that on our trip to Africa. We have each given up something for the benefit of helping others. We came together as a team for the purpose of lifting light from some very dark places and to build relationships. We did so because we each felt called in some way to make a journey to Africa.

In many African villages the concept of community is essential; it is how they live. Living in community doesn’t bring monetary richness but it does bring connection and survival. While great to see at many levels, this way of life doesn’t lend itself to much change or improvement.

On this trip our team was blessed to provide new insights, opportunities for growth and new ways of thinking, in addition to hope, love and laughter.

We stepped into a village and worked side by side with locals to mud a school, we worked in community with another village to repair a bore hole that had not been working for almost two years, we talked to a village mothers group giving them new insights and knowledge, we fed lunches to the children at a local school, we played sports and games and loved on children of many ages, and we delivered our individual expertise in business, marketing, computers, jewelry making, counseling, finance, parenting, mechanics, ministry, and restaurant management.

Most importantly, we built relationships! We laughed, shared life stories, developed new friendships and opened our hearts to individuals living halfway around the world. We felt not only compassion but connection and purpose.

We also learned a little bit more about ourselves. We grew in spirituality and we discovered new strengths. We gained new perspectives and appreciation for life; what we have. We learned that giving of ourselves really isn’t that difficult and being adaptable and flexible lends itself to wonderful opportunities.

While it is sad to be leaving beautiful Uganda, I will keep in prayer the new friends I have met and will continue to build on these relationships.

My visual memories are filled with seeing children wave to you as you pass by smiling and excitedly shouting Mazungu. Riding basic bicycles everywhere. Downpours of rain accompanied by the loudest booming thunder I have ever heard. The termite hills exploding after the rain and swarms of winged termites flying everywhere (eek)! Bicycles used by locals to transport everything (three wooden children’s beds balanced perfectly was tops!). The most delicious pineapple I have ever eaten! The hardest working women, tending to fields while carrying babies in a pack on their back. Driving through the beautiful countryside on the way to Jinja to see my sweet Trevor and David and spending three days loving on and being loved by them. I will write more on this developing relationship later and the boys I am so in love with. And on our final day, going on an unexpected Safari seeing so many wonderful sites and animals.

We are all part if this wonderful world no matter how many miles separate us! My prayer is that more people open their eyes to the world, looking outside of what is familiar and comfortable digging deep to find compassion and love for those places that darkness has set in. Your light is meant to shine for the world to see. Resist the temptation to hide in your own darkness and instead let your light shine bright.

I can’t wait to return again! Maybe you will come with me. Thank you to all of you who supported me on this trip, for you have also made a difference.

Much love,