Monday, January 16, 2012

after all this time

i've been home almost five months. i should probably stop posting on this blog. i mean, i'm not in africa anymore. i'm not even travelling anymore.nor do i have plans to travel internationally in the near future. bummer.

but i just can't get away. i can't forget.

some of my friends are going to thailand with HELP this summer. they are in the beginning stages of preparation and excitement. Andrea told me that her friend just got accepted to go to Mbale this summer. and then i realized, i want to go back.

i want to go to Impact and see Gerald, Nabeth, Rachel, and all those wonderful Leadership Program students. I want to go to CURE and see those mother's and teach them how to better their lives. i want to go to Mbale Regional Hospital and see Dr. Peter. I want to see the nurses and orderlies in the surgical theater, and maybe observe a surgery or two. i want to go to BAM and buy some Nice Biscuits. i want to go to the Babies Home and see James, Gududu and the other babies. i want to go to church and teach Primary, even though that mostly involves singing some songs and chasing Shadrach all over the compound. i want to go to FHE and make fun of the funny missionaries, while Jude and Bernard beg us for pizza. i want to go to Mbale Secondary and see those sweet girls who i hope we empowered. i want to go to Mt. Elgon primary school and see Peter- he would be overjoyed. i want to sit in Chat n' Chino eating "team crepes" with aubs. i want to go on a boda boda ride in the rain. i want to go to Namatala and see Gracie and little Grace. I want to walk into Child of Hope Primary school and have Godfrey greet me while throngs of children run, jumping to be the first to grab me around the waist or hold my hand. i want to laugh at them while they show off their hula hoop skills, jump roping skills, or their dancing skills. i want to go to english classes and help jonathon learn to read and write.

what i wouldn't give for one more day!

i feel horrible because it is starting to fade. the faces and names are starting to leave. the days blending together.
but there is something that will never leave- the love i felt there. the lessons i learned. the hardships and trials i saw people over coming. it horrifies me to think that some of the people i grew to love, i will never see again in this life. yes, i promised to go back. and my heart ached as i promised because i don't know when that day will come. i hope sooner rather than later. until then i pray that these people i love will be kept well in Christ, until we meet again.
i love this

Monday, December 12, 2011


i just watched this and cried. i miss this place. can we go back?

thanks aubs :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

3 months

3 months ago today i stepped off a plane bringing me back from uganda, and the best 18 weeks of my life. i have had some time to reflect on this experience. ok that just sounded good. really i began to forget about it- about the people, the love there, the beautiful landscape, etc. school just got busy. i got distracted with worries of money, the future, and having a social life.

then last sunday i took a look at my pictures and the videos from my time there. i was filled with such gratitude for the chance i had to go to Uganda, meet the people i met, and learn from their way of life. here is what i wrote about the experience in a letter to my brother on sunday:

While I was in Africa I found that there are so very many things that I take for granted that I didn’t have over there. When I first got home I would stand in the shower forever because I hadn’t had a hot shower in 4 months! Hot water is so wonderful and we take it for granted, or complain it isn’t hot enough. I also realized that I am blessed with a great knowledge of things that many people don’t even know about. As a “little” 21-year-old, I was teaching adults and even respected people in their villages about hand washing, nutrition, first aid—things that I have known pretty much my whole life. Those people were beyond grateful for everything we taught them—I can’t even tell you how many times they thanked us, wrote us notes, or brought us food.  They were so grateful and yet we had only shared something that they had never had the chance to learn! I realized there that education, and the opportunity to receive it, is a great blessing and something that I need to be more grateful for. 

at this time of year for thanksgiving and remembering christ's birth, i am so grateful for the small things- warm water, electricity, good roads, healthy food, a job, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to help others. no, i will not forget Uganda, or the people of Mbale. that would be a travesty. but i will take what i learned and use it to make myself a better person and to make the world a better place!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

snapshots of uganda: 3

first day in Africa!
ok this isn't a post about an African, but about this amazing girl i was able to live with [in the same room] for 18 weeks.

Sarah Blackhurst.

at a clean water project in Namatala

i knew when i went to africa that i would meet many amazing people and i hoped that we would become friends. i was so blessed to live with Sarah for 18 weeks. right from the plane ride over she took me under her arm and adopted me as her "little sister" and accomplice. (disclaimer there are so very many people i could talk about and don't worry my friends, i will post about you too!)

sarah taught me so much while i was in uganda.
after the somehow sketchy boda tipped over

- how to ask good questions, and then really listen to the answers
- not to judge people by their appearances (abby taught me this too)
- how to stick with things even if its hard and people aren't helping you
- how to have fun even without money
- that it is so important to stay in tune with the spirit and read the scriptures daily
- what amazing music is played by escala, palladio, and bond
- to be patient with people who are different from you and try to see things from their perspective
- loyalty to your friends is number 1
- you can wake up at 8:45 and still look freaking hot by 9(ok only sarah could pull that off- i still can't do that)
- you can make any day special
- how to laugh when things go wrong

at Mbale Resort- don't worry about my hair. its freaky

miss sarah is getting married in january to mr. paul israelsen and i am so excited for both of them! i feel a little responsible for this love happening, but i don't really know why. ha ha. maybe its because i was of the only people who knew that they were "dating" while we were in africa! i win!

but no, Sarah is seriously amazing. she is hilarious. she can always make me laugh. she is completely honest with me. she is a good judge of character and i trust her opinion. oh did i mention she is so beautiful? she is really good at fixing things- from broken hearts, to broken beds.
fixing my broken bed
now for a picture overload.

making fried egg sandwiches for dinner

roommates for life!

sad that abby is leaving us
in the taxi going to torroro

where it all began- chicago airport
in front of Buckingham palace
sarah- you rock! love you girl!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

snapshots of uganda: 2

this is Mercy. she lives in Namatala and goes to Child of Hope Primary School.

Namatala is the biggest slum in Mbale and one of the biggest slums in all of Uganda. Child of Hope serves only one section of the slum. They educate one child from each family in hopes of improving the overall education of that family. Child of Hope also teaches families (mothers especially) income generating activities (IGA's), as well as health care practices. i had the opportunity to work with Child of Hope many times this summer.

[back to Mercy]
whenever i went to Child of Hope, Mercy was one of the first children to run up and hug me [they all would run and pretty much tackle you]. she would play hand clapping games with me. she was always happy. she always had a smile on her face and was excited to see me. she made me feel so loved. on my last day in Namatala I went to Child of Hope and found that Mercy was not feeling well. I sincerely hope she recovered quickly and did not have malaria! she is a ray of sunshine in the midst of poverty. i have great hopes for her future! love you Mercy!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

snapshots of uganda: 1

we met this little Somalian girls at Lion's Children's Park while we were running the Blood Drive. there is a horrific famine in Somalia right now, not to include political unrest, which has resulted in millions from Somalia seeking refuge in neighboring countries. since it was Ramadan (a Muslim holiday where they fast from sun up to sun down every day for a month or so) there were many Somalian Muslim's living in Mbale.
these cute girls came up and started dancing to the music we had going and pretty soon we joined in! (Somalians are different from Ugandans in that they are taller, skinnier and usually lighter skinned. the men, especially have defining features.) it was so fun dancing with these girls! they didn't speak any English and we didn't speak Somali. But that's the great thing about Africa- you don't need words to speak volumes.
what i remember from this experience is that these girls were so happy! they loved life. yet, they were refugees. they had no home. i fell in love with their smiles and enthusiasm. 
since being home and reading more about the famine and hard ships in Somalia, i wish i could go back right now. go to Somalia. and in some way relieve the poverty in some way. 
someday i will go.
until then i will never forget these happy, dancing refugees. 

snapshots of uganda

since we all know my heart is still in uganda, i have decided that periodically i will write a post about someone i met there- american, ugandan, etc.  by doing this i hope to keep the flame burning in me so that i don't forget why i did what i did there and the impact it had on my life. i also hope to maybe inspire others to go out and do something good- for anyone, anywhere.