So I have been back in the states a few days now. I have seen a few of you people and others I have not got the chance to share stories with yet. But, we will. Don’t worry.
Let me just start out by telling those of you who don’t know what I did for the past few months of my life exactly what I’ve been up to. In January, I left on a four month mission trip to Uganda, Africa with a group of 13 strangers I met through the organization we were going with. Adventures in Missions based in Gainesville, GA. Yeah. It was crazy. Best experience of my life and some of the best friends I have ever made. I’m the kind of person who has a lot of best friends though, so no jealousy anyone! So, we were there in Northern Uganda for four months. We made many friends and had many experiences, such as being in weddings (This guy!) and staying in the village out in huts. So many more things happened but those are some of the appealing ones.
Yeah so I spent the last four months of my life in Africa. The love I have for it now after doing life there is indescribable. I had a love for the people there who are suffering and poor before my excursion but now that I have been there and have lived with those very people I saw in videos, read about in articles, books and magazines and saw photos of. That love…that love is at a whole new level. I wish I could explain to people when they ask what it was like to be there and to be immersed in such a place as that for such a long period of time but the words I come up with don’t even begin to do it justice. It was such a great place. A few people have asked me what my favorite part was and I just don’t have one. Obviously, right? It’s Africa. But, if I could generalize a favorite part. I would say my favorite part of the entire experience is “The People”. That meaning the Ugandans, the team I was a part of and our friends there who aren’t African. Other white people who live there.
I’ll talk about the Ugandan people this post. They are incredible. Truly. That word doesn’t even describe them. They are the most welcoming and hospitable and genuine people I think that are on this planet. I’ve only been to Uganda and Kenya so that is loosely put but I believe it so far. The country of Uganda has been devastated by 25 years of war. 25 years. That’s a mighty long time. But, they are still so inviting and helping not only towards me (a white celeb) but each other as well. It’s amazing, they live on so very little but are so giving still with their possessions and the little money they do have. Most recently, many people know that they have been affected by the LRA. Uganda is the country in which it started and no longer has the main threats of the LRA evident there but people are still being affected. Primarily by HIV. But also emotionally as well. Who wouldn’t be? If you don’t know what the LRA is or what they are causing across east Africa. Check Invisible Children out. Read, Watch and listen to what the LRA is doing to east Africa. Despite all this hurt and pain they have gone through, they are still wonderful people. Still driven for a better life for themselves and focused so desperately on surviving. To say that to be living there with them and learning from them was inspiring would be a drastic understatement. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of a trip there, I highly recommend you go. And, when you go be prepared to be loved in a way you didn’t think was possible and then be prepared for it to rub off on you like an elmers gluestick. Seriously.
When I got to Uganda, I had a serious dose of culture shock. But, the culture shock I got when I landed in the states four months late was ten million times worse and it’s still bothering me. Maybe, just maybe that’s how I know that I’ve been changed. The pure blooded consumerism that swallows our country is unbelievable to me and I’m just as guilty as the next person. It’s almost like an addiction for us. If we don’t have bigger, better, faster, stronger all the time. We get withdraws and a headache. America is like a pack of cigs to me. It taste terrible but you need more and more so you don’t go crazy. Needless to say I am trying to get used to this culture again. Maybe it takes time to get used to it again. But, it’s not something I ever want to get used to again. Now, I know we do have some good in us (americans). I saw non-profits based in America all over Uganda. So that encouraged me, but we need more people to buy into the idea of “less is more”. Meaning that the less “stuff” you have and the more you give to those who desperately need it. Doesn’t have to be Ugandans, could be the homeless guy down the street. But, the more of yourself that you give the more happy you become. It seems like simple logic to me but it’s still so difficult for us as Americans. Myself included.
So, next post I guess I’ll elaborate more on how awesome my team was and how legit they are.
Thanks for reading!