So another week has almost come to a close and as I reflect back there are many thoughts in my head. Today is my last day in Jinga and it saddens me to leave this beautiful land. I have made so many wonderful friends, Ugandan and American. I was truly blessed by my roomate Kristen throughout this entire trip. I am sure we will remain friends forver. The spirit of this place is so happy and content. As I look into the eyes of the children everywhere I see a group of people that is so resiliant. Each one looks torn and tattered but still has the spirit of greatfulness.
It's hard to imagine that a place so peaceful by nature was so war torn just short 20 years ago. These people have seen and lived through atrosoties I hope I never expereince and still their vigor for life continues. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview and elderly man in his hut this week who showed me what true happiness really is. He's seen it all, and although somewhat defeated by his poverty, is still gracious and kind. His biggest concern was what he would feed me "his visitor". I feel that the Western world hasd so much to learn from these people about true happiness.
Don't get me wrong, there is still saddness and lack of hope in some places but it's amazing to me how much a short visit from a Mzungu can encourage someone. Why me? I'm just a small town insurance sales person. Why do these people feel so encouraged by my visit's? Is it because I give them a voice or simply because of the color of my skin? Or both?
I have become great friends with a young man named Nash from Kenya. He does all the booking at a nearby rafting company and backpacker hostel. Two years ago he was in Uganda and his families home was attacked and burned by the rebel forces. He awoke one morning to find his compound and pictures of his families tradgety on the cover of the Ugandan newspaper. Can we as Americans really imagine how this must have felt? Sure we have our trials, 9/11 being the most recent. But think of how it would be to live everyday without the basic human right of security. It is a way of life in this region and is reality for most people.
Of course I have enjoyed all of my adventures. Bungee jumping, rafting, an overnight weekend of misaps and laughter in Kampala. But the true meaning of life has evolved more deeply in my heart.
It's hard sometimes to understand why I am me. Why did God bless me with so many things and allow such awful situations to occur in someone else's life. Simply because they are born in a different place and have a different situation. I didn't choose who I am, he did. I know it is all part of his perfect plan but as a human I think it would wrong for me not to question these things. And wrong not to raise these questions to my friends and family. On my last day in Jinga I reflect back on this trip, good and bad, and have many many thoughts. I pray that one day I can make sense of it all.
I have 5 more days in Africa and more to do but at this point I can say I will unarguably leave a piece of my heart in Africa and anxiously await my return.
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and support.