Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm coming up on my two week mark here in Uganda.  Craziness.  I guess I've just been thinking a lot lately about my time I've already spent here and what I expect from the rest of the time here.

I know that God has a plan for each of His children.  I know that He's aware of us and places us in each others paths to bless us--and show us our ability to benefit the lives of those around us.  I believe that's a lot of the reason why certain life choices I've made have been right is because of people.  People that I've met and been in contact with.  People truly leave a mark on me.  I learn so much from those around me--regardless of age, education level or nationality. I find true value in my associations with friends, family, acquaintances, etc.  I have loved my life because it has been so rich of people.  People inspire me.  They teach me how to more effectively love.  Love life, love others, etc.

Thus far, my time spent in Uganda has been unreal.  I frequently look out of the window of our taxis and wonder if what my eyes are seeing is really on a screen--a film, footage, a commercial maybe, but it can't be real.  It can't be my life.

I have seen joy in the eyes of children with tattered clothes, zero electronics or toys to entertain them.  In fact, the most advanced toy I've seen played with is a milk carton with wheels that is pushed by a stick.  They have flies on their faces but don't even flinch.  Their legs are tiny and have poked out bellys.  They're hungry.  But they're so happy to see you.

I have seen mothers that have multiple children--often from different fathers--and are raising their children alone.  They rarely have a husband at home as support.  And chances are good that they got pregnant at a young age, and therefore have no completed education to their name--even high school level.  They don't see potential in themselves or their situation.  But they go forward.  They are gracious.  They are lovely.  They are kind.  They are so happy to see you.

I've seen men walking home from work in raggedy clothes that don't even come close to fitting their frail bodies.  We were buying bottled water the other day and I got overwhelmed watching the passersby.  I noted the serious looks on their faces, the frames of their bodies so fragil beneath the billowing button up shirts they wear.  But you utter a word to them in Lugisu and their eyes just illuminate.  They are so happy to see you.

I guess I just needed a second to reflect.  I love it here.  I love the other volunteers.  I know that we can help.  I know that I can't fix every problem or change the world in 4 months.  But I can change the world of a few people.

 I guess it's just been kind of a frustrating day today.  I believe that I'm here for a reason and that I have qualities and talents that can be used to help.  I suppose I have just felt kind of lost.  I was hoping that since I came into this knowing that I'm supposed to be here, that everything would fall magically into place.  Silliness.  I should know better than to think that the most satisfying things come naturally without work and struggle.  I go to these meetings and discuss possible projects and have yet to find my thing.  You know, my area, my project, that I can take some ownership over--that can be my baby, the thing I'm most passionate about.  You know?  I am excited about all of the projects and want my hands in all of it.  But I guess I've just wanted to find something to make me feel purpose.  Like there's something particular that I can head up.  Perhaps I just need time.  I'm sure it will come.  But I've always been terrible at the waiting part of God's plans.  I always want to understand the purpose and know ahead of time what I'm supposed to learn.  I'm sure I'll figure things out and I'll find what I need to do here.  But in the mean time, I continue to appreciate all of the little moments--the details.

I'm happy to be here.  I feel so lucky to have this opportunity.  I never thought I was that girl.  You know, the type to up and move to Africa.  But it's been cool to see what I think and how I handle things.  I always learn a lot about myself in my travels.  I'm sure figuring out what I'm supposed to do and what my purpose is here will be another great spiritual growth spurt.  It'll be a good thing in the end.  But like actual growth spurts, there's that awkward phase when things feel weird and gawky.  Perhaps life lessons are the same way.  There's a level of discomfort until we make sense of everything.

Okay, I will sign out for the day.  I know that I post super frequently and they're always lengthikins.  Thanks for reading and caring about the work we're doing over here.  It means a lot to have things that are important to me matter to the people that I care about.  Love you all, Mals


  1. You'll find your niche. Well, that might not be exactly correct. You have so many abilities that you're bound to have many niches. But you'll probably find one project that feels like your own. Your awkward phase will pass and you'll be happy with what you can do there. I'm sorry you're frustrated for now, though. Know that we're reading and feeling with you. I love you Mal. It was wonderful to talk to you today. I miss you tons and can't wait for our next jog.

  2. Mal, I agree with Kim completely. You are a woman with so many talents and abilities that it will be hard to have you in someone's life without them being touched for good. Your pure love for the people there and all the places you have been is so amazing. I admire your strength and courage. I will admit I giggled just a little, in an immature way, at pondering you having to teach a sex-ed class. Don't take that the wrong way :) I'm just usually the clinical one in the fam. :) And bizzarly enough it sounds like an awesome opportunity and I wish I could be there with you to teach those sweet young children and help them realize they are worth more than what someone will pay or trade for their bodies. Teaching them to love themselves and respect themselves. You will be amazing! Truly!! I love you, I adore every word you write it is an adventure of a lifetime and you are changing our lives as you share with us. You are in all of our prayers. Hang in there, work hard and have a little fun every day.

  3. why is it that I cry everytime I read a post? wish Jordan & I were there to help too - it is so touching and yet so heart wrenching at the same time!