So here’s the story of how John (The other guy on my Uganda team) and I became Rugby players…
John was working in the computer cafe that was at the church we were working with. It’s not much of a cafe. More like a classroom filled with Windows computers. A man by the name of Carter had approached him and long story short asked if he and myself would like to come to a practice of the Rugby team he was a captain/coach for. Of course John said yes. He would have been crazy not to.
I can’t remember exactly how our first visit to practice came about or when but I can tell you that we got to practice touch Rugby with a bunch of Ugandans and share a bit of the word of God with them. It was awesome. So, Carter then asks us if we can attend a live match one Saturday. Again, you bet we do!
Ok. The time comes for us to go to this game. We bring a couple of our friends from the team with us for support. Ally and Somer. They brought cameras. Luckily. We get there and the match is already happening. We see them playing and struggling to play good defense against our opponent….then not even 1 full minute into us being there to WATCH this madness. Carter our coach/captain calls out to us telling us to get in the game. QUICKLY.
So John and I manage to tie our shoes, stretch a little bit and get focused on the match at hand in about 35 seconds. 5 seconds after that we are playing LIVE TACKLE RUGBY against huge, fast, tough Africans. Holy crap. Whats happening?
You may not believe it, but John and myself managed to do pretty well. John made a couple tackles and I got to show off my gazelle like speed a little bit (not really, I was tackled and scraped my knee). And, for the rest of our time in Uganda we were apart of the UTC Jeepers Rugby squad. Two white dudes.
I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life. Having the opportunity to be an example to these fellow men and develop quality relationships with them. I love being apart of a team. Especially in sports. Setting a goal and working together to get to that goal. Even if you don’t reach it. Together you were striving for something that others may have deemed impossible. It builds character in you. Whether you fail or you achieve it. It teaches you something no matter the outcome. I eat it up.
So I leave you with this. Set your goals high, and your dreams higher.
THE UTC JEEPERS
Wow. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about a single thing in a couple months. Oh, well. I’m writing now.
I’ve been in a bad mood today. Just today for some reason (so far) but, I think it kind of hit me. I realllllllly loved Africa. I knew I had developed a love for it when I first got home and nestled back into my own bed. But, as the months keep going by…I am noticing more and more…and more that I miss it so freaking much. Then, another thing hit me. How much I dislike this country. America. I swore to myself when I was in Africa that I would not get caught up in the self-centeredness and greed of this country and that I would be different now that I’ve been to Africa.
But, I fell in. Better yet, I fell back in. I’m worried about my clothes, what people think and other shallow things of this world. This is where I might get kind of long-winded/ranty. I find myself judging people on why in the world they would buy that, do that, say that and making myself feel better by saying if only they could see Africa and what’s happening there. But, all the while, I’m shopping online, going out to eat, complaining about my spotify buffering while I stream thousands of songs to my iPhone. In which I don’t use for any other reason but to keep up with Facebook as if some life altering event is going to happen from the time that I checked it at 12:15 to the time when I check it again at 12:20. I’m not blaming anyone but myself because I know I can be an exception to this mad society. It is possible. But, how did we get to this point? How is the biggest thing in the news about a group of people hating a chicken restaurant? I mean. Seriously. We have bigger chicken to fry. Pun completely intended. I don’t know any solutions or have answers on how we got to this point or how we get out of it. All I know is that it’s extremely hard to live here with all these distractions. Africa life is so simple.
Now, I know that most of you won’t have any idea of where I’m coming from. You probably never will. But, it’s a sucky feeling knowing that a major portion of your society cares more about ebay and french fries then they do about a third world country in east Africa. Or any third world country for that matter. I blame only me for letting myself be dictated by such a place. But, as a whole…I think we all need to wake up. and, unlike me. Take some action on a few matters that strike deep to your heart. Whether it be helping out a homeless person or donating some of your hard earned dough to a non profit you believe in. Don’t do it to show society your doing something. Don’t do it to make yourself happy. Do it because your helping someone else. Do it because it’s right.
And from now on I am trying to be more world-conscious instead of self-conscious. Feel free to keep me accountable.
Now, I shared Nelson’s story on my blog when I was in Africa but I’d like to share it on this one as well. Here’s his story.
His name is Nelson and he was a child soldier in the LRA. If you don’t know what that is, visit http://www.invisiblechildren.com to find out more about what that is. Anyways, the story of his escape is truly inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. He escaped from the LRA just before they were getting ready to kill him. His journey after that initial escape was even crazier. Here it is in the most condensed form possible.
So, when Nelson was abducted he was 16. He was held by the LRA for 2 years and 9 months. The night he was abducted the LRA also abducted 7 of Nelsons friends, and only 2 of them were still alive at the point of his escape. His best friend was killed on the first day they were abducted because of his attempt to escape. The LRA cut his body up and put it on a stick to example what would happen to those who tried to escape. The night of Nelsons escape the LRA was planning to kill him. They fed him his “last meal” then went off to fish. At that point Nelson made his escape on 4 days without food or water. He ran and ran and even hid in trees as his captors walked underneath him in hiding multiple times. After coming out of hiding he made his way to a mountain where he stayed for a bit. Then, after a few more encounters and various dangerous scenarios, he met a woman who took him to an army station where they relocated him to Gulu, Uganda which is about 100km from Lira. There they made a radio announcement which Nelsons mother heard. That is where she reunited with Nelson almost 3 years after his abduction. Nelson was forced to kill and was beaten and tortured but all the while kept faith in God that he would return and be free.
Now, Nelson is in school and is aspiring to finish. He has 3 more years before he can enter University, but he lacks funds to do so. Nelson is the oldest child of 8 and aspires to be a pilot. He is an incredible person and has inspired me greatly. My team is still trying to plan how exactly we can help our friend but we ask that you be praying for wisdom and creativity regarding this matter. I hope that this story has touched you and that you would share it as well in order to raise awareness about this ongoing issue. Nelson has been back for 6 years and what he went through is still happening to many innocent people in Africa. Thank you for reading. God Bless!