This was Jerry Mayo's 4th trip to Uganda with Hearts and Hope. He and his wife and daughter sponsor Jacillin (the little girl on Jerry's left in this photo) in the village of Kamuli. His love for the kids in Uganda and the passion he has to make a difference are contagious. People ask why he goes to Uganda; his answer is below:
Almost two weeks after I returned from my 4th trip to Uganda, out of the blue, a co-worker stopped me and said "thank you for all that you do. I wait for every picture and post and its unbelievable how much progress is happening"....That made me smile, but not for the reason that I am doing some great deed to further humanity. The smile was because I thought to myself ...."I wish I could articulate how much THEY do for me"... and WOW "people are watching"
I must admit the first couple of trips were hard. Not hard in the physical sense, but emotionally. Its took a great deal of time for me to get my head around what I experienced. The sights, sounds, and smells of Uganda are unique. Everything is different; the food, the people, the language, the living conditions, the weather etc...Often times I found myself confused about what I was seeing and what my purpose was. How is it possible that I could offer anything of meaning? .......I think the feeling of be overwhelmed is a normal reaction to anyone that travels there, but with repetition comes knowledge and this trip was no different in that a few things "clicked" mentally......
The "I got it moment" was when the bus arrived at the village of Nakabango and as I was walking off the bus, I heard kids yelling "JERRY!!!!"....I thought to myself I HAVE FREINDS IN UGANDA!!!!! This is when I knew that part of the reason WE are there is to make connections and to form relationships. These relationships are what brings confidence and structure to the kids, the schools AND the village. They KNOW that people half way around the world love them and want to see them excel.. These kids know that their sponsors are "watching" and I believe this little bit of accountability is pushing them to do amazing things. The children are so excited to learn and grow , and honestly I am amazed at how far they have come.....I can't wait to see what the 5th trip teaches me:)
Jacillin's mother gave Jerry a live chicken as a token of her appreciation!
Jerry brought along some donated school supplies to share with the kids in Nalwire. Nobody carries a Hello Kitty backpack better than Jerry!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.