This is my third trip to Uganda which has quickly become my happy place. The place I go to in my mind when I'm feeling sad, mad, or just plain bored. It constantly grounds me and enables me to appreciate my abundant blessings. The past few trip posts I've written were full of examples of the many ways Uganda has made me a better person and enriched my life. last time I even mustered up the creativity to form these feelings into a poem.
This time however, I'm going to explain the ways Uganda has made my life worse. First of all, it has opened my eyes to the true meaning of poverty, the haunting suffering that doesn't only exist in newspaper articles and TV commercials and the suffering that doesn't just happen to the "bad guys" of the world. It happens to kids, babies even, and truly God-fearing people who seem to never stop trying to better their lives. Uganda has given me a face, many beautiful faces in fact, that now represent this issue personally. This has forced me to ask questions to God that maybe I don't want him to answer. The obvious question being 'why?'. I find myself asking God, Why do you allow all this poverty, war, and suffering to happen in this world to such innocence? Can't you do something?
Perhaps He is responding to me with the same question.
He says, "Kelly, I have given you the answer, you.... you are my body, you are my hands and you are my feet." God created us to help and care for one another and maybe the realization that we as a human race aren't doing our job is just too uncomfortable an answer for me to accept.
The second way Uganda has made my life worse is because it has ruined many major holidays...
Halloween, for example. I can no longer take my nieces and nephews trick or treating without seeing the faces of my kids in Uganda and wondering how much fun they would be having, if only...
Watching kids gets bellyaches because they ate too many Reeses and wondering how many empty bellies are aching from no dinner on the other side of the world.
I can no longer handle aspects of American Christmas when I recall that Santa Claus, jewelry or the newest iPhone have nothing to do with the birth of Christ and this consumerist waste of resources could be doing so much good for others.
You see, Uganda has in some sense ruined me, but through the ruins I am slowing being rebuilt. Rebuilt into a human being who will be and will do better for the world and for my brothers and sisters at home and abroad. Thank you, Uganda, for being the key to my soul's renovation.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.