Members of the latest Hearts and Hope mission trip to Uganda have been sharing some of their experiences with us. Enjoy some of Kelly's story...
Meeting my kids
Uganda. When I told the typical person I was going to Uganda some didn’t even know where that was, but the vast majority hit me with one question, why? I myself did not know exactly how to give them an answer they would find acceptable, yet the answer I did give them was always, “I gotta go see my kids.” That is- the 3 children I sponsor through Hearts and Hope, but they are undoubtedly, mine. Uganda as a country is beautiful all on its own. The always “70 something” “Southern California-like” temperature, the green mountainous landscape, the spicy and flavorful food, it all has a beauty to it that can’t be reproduced in the states, like many other cultures. The main source of Ugandan splendor, however, comes from the huge, white, sparkling smiles on the faces of children who have nothing, yet give you everything.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting face to face 3 of those children. The first 2 were the kids in the pictures that were sent to me. The kids I pray for daily. They were adorable and sweet and so thankful for the little gifts I had brought them. They warmed my heart and gave me purpose. The third child I met, though it seemed impossible, was even more special.
The circumstances through which I met this child were not usual. In the village of Butangala, I had my third and final “kid” to meet. Unfortunately, I was told the little girl had moved 2 days prior. My heart sank as I wondered where she was, and how she’d get to go to school, if at all. I also had a bag full of gifts and I certainly was not leaving that village with them. Then I was given a gift myself. I had the chance to go and find a young girl in that village who I thought would most appreciate the contents of my gift bag. It took me about 3 milliseconds and I saw her. Small girl, tattered clothes, no shoes, with a baby brother on her hip…bingo. I remembered her from earlier that day, how she kept walking past me smiling ever so slightly, like we had a secret. I immediately took her hand and rushed her to Julie for approval ; ).
It turns out her name is Prossy, she is 10 years old (not as little at I thought), and goes to a government school. The way her face changed when she was able to choose between the 2 dresses in the bag is an image I will never forget. We both came to the village that day expecting different things. She probably just imagined some muzungus to look at and maybe a sweetie or two. However, we both left that day with a new friend and me hopefully with a new “kid” : ).
Uganda has numerous problems: many kids without a meal or access to medical care, many adults without income or the hope of job. But this trip taught me that I cannot fix those problems. I can only love, pray and never lose hope.
“People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.” ― Beth Clark, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.