Sunday, July 14, 2013

I don't know what it is but there's something about Uganda that captures my heart and makes it harder and harder to leave each time I come. This past month has been incredible. From the 1st 2 week team to "Team Diva" for the last 2 weeks. Lots of new friendships have been made and a lot of life changing experiences have been shared. 

Maybe it's the change of pace that I love/hate so much. When you're in Africa you're on African time. No matter what anyone tells you. The answer is always I don't know/it will change. There is no reason to rush about. And chances are you'll run into some challenges but God always provides and gives us some laughs along the way. If your bus breaks down in the middle of the night, people on the side of the road WILL invite you to stay at their house. If your van gets sent to Gulu, hours away, you can always jump on the public transportation bus and make it to your destination in record time. You might "kiss" a few bumpers and other taxis along the way but the free roller coaster ride that comes along with riding in the back row of the bus is without a doubt worth the pain experienced by your spine/tailbone. Team Diva certainly took our crowns  off for that ride :-)

It's also the late night, never ending card games and conversations through out the day (inevitably while waiting for one thing or another ... Don't come to Uganda without a little bit of patience) that bring you closer to one another and form that bond that can't be broken.

It's sitting on the steps in front of HomeAgain talking with Mama Eva and Mama Jackie while shelling g-nuts. Asking questions and learning stories about the children I've begun to fall in love with. I like hearing how each child came to the home. For one I think it's important to know where they came from but it also goes a long long way in helping  understand each child, why they act the way they do and how I can interact with them to make them feel safe/loved. 

Also talking with the mamas and seeing what needs and concerns they have that need to be met. Often times we (Americans/teams) come in and start picking things apart trying to fix things the way we think it ought to be done. When in reality it helps to listen and pay attention to the things we can help with that will be beneficial in the long run. Not just a temporary "fix".

I always love the way a child's face lights up when they see you walking to the home to play. Then the running and jumping hug you get from the little boy you've seen grow up for the past 3 years. I think the only other people that get that excited to see me are my parents if I've been away long enough and our dog Gracie every time I walk through the door ;-)

It's also the baby snuggles and "buttery biscuits" after bath time in a basin on the front veranda. And holding children until they fall asleep in the afternoon. 

To end our trip team Diva decided we wanted to do something special for our friend who we all look forward to seeing each year. He drives our bus/van/car everywhere we go and watches out for us like we are his children while we're there. He is one of my favorite people to sit and talk with because all our little American ways tickle him to pieces. He laughs at us as we try to wash clothes then takes over and does it for us. He can answer pretty much any question you have about Uganda and we talk about our families and our lives. One afternoon I was showing him pictures of my family and he mentioned he hardly has any pictures of his family and no pictures of his son at school. This broke my heart. We were able to leave him a camera and he absolutely loved it. After Hannah and Emma left we sat in the car showing him how to use it. He talked about how excited he was to show his son and be able to take pictures of his family to show us. Then the morning me and Laura left he stopped before leaving us at the airport and pulled his camera out of his pocket to take our picture. He was so proud and I just melted and tried not to cry.

It's the little things!! 

I am so blessed that I was able to spend the month in Uganda. God certainly orchestrated some amazing things and put together 2 teams I'm so grateful to have been part of. I'll be posting more blogs about what we've been up to when I get home. 

Waiting for our Clean Water Climb team here in Tanzania now. We start our climb on Wednesday morning. Gonna smash that mountain!!

(Still raising money if you're interested)

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