Last time I came here I didn't know what to expect, I just knew I had to come, even though i was by myself going to a far away land with a group of complete strangers. I believe in life you have things you have to push yourself to do (such as every night when I walk into the hospital for a long 12 hour shift) and some things pull you towards doing them. Uganda is a puller. The people in this country touch my soul in a way that God knows I need. It's the ultimate reset button which takes me out my bubble where dreams of dollar signs and worthless nothings overpower my life. This hot, dusty place reminds me that it is absolutely not material things that make people truly happy. These people have so little but the smiles and palpable joy is abundant. In a land of such material poverty there is a bounty of spiritual richness, it has to be seen to be believed.
When I cry and feel pity for these kids I immediately remind myself that while it is undeniably sad to see a child in tattered clothes and hungry, God himself sent his son to earth born in a dirty stable, not a fancy birth center, lain with wild animals, none of which were stuffed. He was poor and spent all his time with the outcasts of society. Loving the least of us, what better example could there be to follow?
Uganda also reminds me of how humans are all so similar. We are connected on a level that supercedes even language, I can go all day playing with a child, holding and laughing with them only to realize that we havent said a word to eachother. Sometimes words aren't needed. Once we sweep away all of our perceived differences our divided world has ingrained in us, we realize that we belong to one another. It doesn't matter what race, sex, religion, or nationality we are. God has entrusted us to each other and it is our resonsibility to share not only our outside goods but our inside gifts as well. I may provide some material needs for my 4 beautiful kids in Uganda, but what they give to me in return is far more significant.
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Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.