Hey everybody, I’ve missed you. I wanted to switch it up this time and give you a different perspective besides my own. My family came to visit last month and after giving them time to decompress and comprehend their visit, they wrote me their thoughts and feelings after being here.
First up is my lovely 13 year old sister MeiLi 🙂
“I can definitely say that is it beautiful, it actually surprised me of what I saw. Gulu with no argument exceeded my expectations of what I thought. But when you look outside of Gulu, there are some people who are struggling, it’s definitely really sad and heart breaking to see, and even if you would compare Uganda to the United States. I found that almost everything is so much cheaper, meals, clothes, food, etc. And even so many things I kinda almost took for granted. Lets say for an example, having a power outage. Usually you would think in the US if the power would have turned off due to a storm, or a Tornado, and many other things that you would think of. In Uganda, there was at least 4 or so power outages in one week, and its not because of a storm or something, its because they don’t have the technology like we do…Something along that line. After seeing what I have been seeing, It has shown me that life could be way harder, for example, if you fail 2 tests in school, you might think that it has been the worst day ever. In Uganda, there are people who are getting seriously sick everyday and fighting stay alive. Coming to a conclusion, if you were to ever go to Uganda, it does make you realize that we have everything.”
Next up, thoughts from Jeffman:
“I was amazed by the resiliency of the people considering the working and living conditions. It taught me a lot about patience and faith. Sometimes we aren’t thankful enough and we make big deals out of little things. I felt considering the difficult lifestyle and conditions that I should’ve been finding ways to help him them, yet they were the ones trying to make me comfortable. For example, when I was sick…people were calling around trying to make sure I was ok which really comforted me knowing that those are the very people looking after you as well. I loved the saying “you are most welcome”, so much so that I have been trying to use that as people come to our home. I was proud of you before you left but having spent even a few hours I was amazed by your patience and willingness to be uncomfortable for the benefit of others. I honestly didn’t think I could make it and that was after 1 1/2 days in Gulu. My highlights included our time with Bosco and Dom. As a man, I was able to relate to Bosco’s pride in his family and home and was so thankful to have been invited into their lives. I felt that being a father is often the same, wherever you may be…. I loved Dom’s excitement about empowering the women in ways that would enhance their futures. He seemed to have a pride in the people and the land and a hope for a bright future.”
Last, but not least, thoughts from Ma:
“I was sooo extremely excited to go to see of all the things and people you had told me about. Kampala was beautiful but as we were leaving that city it became more and more clear how things were going to look as we got closer to Gulu. At first it was sooo hard to see the people in the conditions in which they were living. Boda’s driving around with 4 people often little children with no helmets, children walking along highways, women walking with jerry cans, baskets with fruits on their heads, and a baby on their back with one or two along side of them as well. The people and animals everywhere out on the streets walking around…at first it was really unnerving. I can go for a few days and see only a handful of people outside. The first two days in Gulu were hard for me…I was adjusting to the lifestyle I was seeing you living, not easy for a mom. And also dealing with my own uncomfortable feelings of not having the things around that make me feel content. And then the guilt came in…how could I be selfish enough to think that I was more entitled to have those things that make life easier for me. My head was swirling… I wanted to connect with the ladies but my idea of walking into KK and helping quickly turned into me feeling very weak and not worthy of their time. They were so much stronger than me and their lives had been filled with an enormous amount of difficulty. When they would pray, they were really praying for some very deep things. My prayers have paled in comparison to them. I needed to get over the guilt or it was going to swallow me up and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time. I needed to stop feeling bad that I was born in a more privileged place and start connecting with the ladies. I sat with them and listened although I couldn’t always understand. I played with their children. I rocked their children to sleep. I took pictures and laughed with them. I began to feel their strength and things started to change. All of the things that made me uncomfortable became beautiful to me. I started to see the beautiful colors of kitenge, the beautiful faces, the camaraderie of the people on the streets, the children on their way to school to become educated, animals that would provide the families with money or food, a resilient bustling city that not that long ago was filled with fear, soccer fields always full of children and adults, women working hard to provide for their families, an enormous amount of love coming from those mothers towards their children. What was so painful for me to see just a day earlier became something I didn’t want to turn away from. I knew you were in a place that would teach you more about life than I ever could. Gulu made me feel more good and bad, happy and sad than any other place I’ve ever been to, It drummed up feelings I’ve never had. I feel like those people really live, hard as it may be, they are living in every aspect of their lives. Coming back to the US was difficult in that I felt guilty as i looked around. We have the potential and should feel the obligation to help those who are less fortunate. The people in Gulu don’t want handouts, they want to work and build great lives for themselves and their children. I learned that we are not that different in the core of our being. We love our families and want peace and opportunity. I learned more in those two weeks than any other experience in my life. I love my life but now there’s a yearning to bring about opportunities for those who weren’t blessed as I have been. It isn’t fair but I can work on making it more fair for someone suffering. No more looking away for this momma!! And my pride for you is BOOMING! You are amazing my sweet boy! I love you!”
21 days and I am home for a little while, see you soon 🙂