Monday, July 30, 2012

Final reflection: The beginning

I could spend hours and hours photographing these children and seeing them smile and laugh like this!!
Photo taken by LeeAnn
            We left Uganda, spent an incredible and unforgettable 20 hours in London and have been in the US for a few days now.  I am still incapable of comprehending the magnitude and impact of this trip.  So much happened!  I guess I will see the results of it later down the road when in retrospect I see how this trip has changed me.  What I do know, however, is that I will not keep my arms crossed.  I want to do more for Uganda, for the people and the children and for all of those we met that were so welcoming and kind and in need of our help.  That is why I say that this trip was just the beginning.  I do not want to stop here, and I do not think that the group does either.  We have already been talking amongst us about other projects that we can do in the future, garbage bins, and definitely more water filters, the possibilities and needs are endless, and our motivation just as much.  Our personal financial resources may not cause dramatic changes in the lives of so many Ugandans in need, but I know that with our communities, friends and families we can do so much good!  We have the capability to make another positive change in Uganda, and I will not let that opportunity go by.  I do not think I could live with myself knowing that I met so many people that need my help, and that I could help, and not do anything about it.  They deserve a better life, clean water, shelter, clothing, a good diet and income, and I believe it is my duty, as someone lucky enough to have these luxuries, to help them obtain these basic needs. 

Oh how they liked the camera... :)
Photo taken by Brittany
            This trip has not only inspired in me a desire to help, but it has also forced me to question myself, by beliefs and actions, in ways I had never done before.  It has helped me to understand why I do the things I do and if I should continue with them or not.  There is still a lot I have to reflect on and figure out. 

The last day... these two little girls almost made me cry.  I will post about them separately, they were truly incredible, I didn´t want to leave them!!!!
            The pictures… will they come out as the portraits of poor, suffering children and just remain as memories from a journey?  Or will they actually have an impact on the people that see them and inspire them to help?  I hope they do. 
            And what about everyone I met?  How will they be now?  I keep on thinking about everyone we met, looking at the watch, adding 10 hours and trying to imagine what they are doing at this exact moment.  Their lives will continue and so will mine… but will they ever cross again?  We met so many wonderful, wonderful people… will I ever see them again??  Will they be okay??  Will their situations improve, or get worse?  I will pray for them.

At the seminary we visited with one of the students.  We played basketball with the boys, talked about music, hobbies... so fun! 

The students, teachers and nun at a school we visited.  We had so much fun with them! They put music and we all started dancing and laughing... I will create a separate post about them! :)
            Before Africa I knew of the poverty that existed, the situation of the children, men and women living there and the struggles they faced.  Most people now that, but we subconsciously chose not to think about it, put it far in the back of our minds and continue with our lives. But now that I have seen it, and met those people, the memories of will never disappear and I do not think it will be very easy to put it to the side like before.  I don´t want to.  That is why Uganda has changed me, and helped to become a different person than the one that stepped out of the little yellow staircase of the plain in the Entebbe airport.  I know it sounds corny and the phrase has been used a million times, but it is true.  I cannot say how exactly, I do not want to say that it has made me a better person, one with a wider view of the world, that it has opened my eyes to another reality, that it has made me more grateful for what I have and inspired me to help others… because although all that is true…  This trip was so much more than that!  Saying that those were the results does not do it justice, and does not even come close to the reality of it all.  I am humbled, and grateful for the opportunity that I had.  I would never, in a million years, have imagined myself in UGANDA.  There are no more words that I can say about this trip.  Anything I say about it will come short of what I am feeling.  Yet, I hope that I am able to turn all of this, these feelings and confusion, into aid that will help Uganda, and try to give back a little of what it gave me.

On the boat trip at Murchison Falls.  Some are missing, but I could not have asked for a better group of individuals to share this experience with!
Photo taken by Brittany

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