I’m frustrated and fired up. I have a new passion and a deep love for the vulnerable people of Uganda, and I miss them. I felt helpful, I saw the hurting, and I want to do more. The people I encounter back home have not experienced what I have, and I cannot explain or show them exactly why I feel the way I do. I know it is wrong for me to be frustrated with them, but I can’t help it. I’m mad at the people in America who are not taking action or fighting for those less fortunate. I wish people would stop admiring all the non-profits and all the people doing good, and actually take action in supporting them. I am not saying that everyone has to support Sweet Sleep, but I just want people to support something, anything, to serve others. I wish everyone could discover his or her passions and dreams. Some discover it, but do nothing. This devastates me. I wish the whole world could have seen Gulu with me. I wish they could see what I saw and hurt how I hurt.
I feel this way because of various experiences and encounters that I had during my trip to Gulu, Uganda and one of these encounters was with a girl named Sharon. I will always cherish her in my mind.
I’m 19. Sharon is 18. She lives in a village and nurses her baby. I waste my time entertaining myself and seeking rebellious independence. She is strong. She is poise. She is inspiring.
She is a mom. I’m still a kid.
I met her on the third day of distributing beds. Sharon stood with glistening eyes and a wide pure smile. We made eye contact and so I decided to walk over to her and her friends. I was relieved when I found out that she spoke English. At 18, she is a mom. She told me her back hurts from carrying her baby. Her motherhood shocked me and uplifted me. She told me she dreamed of God. I know that motherhood at her age is normal in other societies, but it still hit me hard and humbled my soul.
I didn’t even ask what her story was. Truthfully, I was scared to hurt more for her, as I saw that her whole village was desperate for basic needs that Americans never put thought to. As we talked, I thought about her living conditions. I guessed that she probably lived in a primitive village, in a hut with no bed, eating only one meal a day. She probably feeds her baby before herself. I saw her precious child wrapped around her back and was inspired by her strength and maturity.
After the bed distribution, we thanked each other, and she told me she was glad to be my friend. This overjoyed me. We took a photo and parted, and I felt a connection with her.
This was a culture shock that was directly relevant to me.
It enlightened me, and reminded me to remember God’s purpose for my life. I hope to never waste my time here. I see the hurting people just floating through this world and I cry for them. I want to just do something, anything for them, but I don’t know how, and I often forget. Sharon caused me to feel joyful, burdened, and inspired all at the same time. I’m so blessed that God allowed my weak eyes to meet the fire in Sharon’s.
Looking back on the trip I was reminded that God answered my prayers. I rarely remember to acknowledge when He answers my pleas. I know this is wrong. I was burdened with inadequacies, and God led me to truth, comforted me, and inspired me through Sharon. He also showed me that just a simple touch or encounter with another human provides hope to them and to you.
My overall take away is that Ugandan people are strong. I don’t know how they continue to live the way they do, but I admire it. I don’t know how to fix their extreme poverty, or how to provide aid to all of their vulnerabilities, but I’m trying to through Sweet Sleep. My own advice to you and myself is listen to the Lord for His answers, He may surprise you and place you across the world.