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RN volunteer trip to Uganda

Siri Kwelabira (I will never forget you)

UGANDA | Sunday, 30 October 2016 | Views [295]

The month of October has taught me so much and changed me in ways. I have learned to let go and let God. We cannot control everything in life and sometimes we just have to throw our hands up, paste a smile on our faces and just live in the present moment. I have learned to cherish every moment instead of always thinking about my next step in life and what my 5-year plan should be. Life is short and time flies by; work to live do not live to work. I have learned to let annoyances roll off my shoulder and to laugh it off, there is no point in wasting time or energy in a bad mood. I have learned that I can be a pleasant human being without coffee. I have found a strong desire to serve others, to bring comfort and hope to the desperate. No matter how few I am able to serve I can still make a difference for someone. Most importantly I have learned how to give a mother’s love even though I know it will hurt when I say goodbye.


Last night our church had an overnight worship event. There were about 100 parishioners’ there who would be singing and praying from 9pm till 5am. Very old Jaja’s and young children would be staying up throughout the night for this event; I was exhausted thinking about it. Before the event began Mary came up to my dorm to practice a song with me. (Mary is the 13 year-old I had comforted earlier in the month and the song was “you raise me up”.) I asked her if she would sing it tonight so that I could hear her, she told me that she planned to sing it on Sunday and was adamant that I sing it with her. This is when I reminded her that I was leaving early Sunday morning so I would not be able to sing it then. Her bright smile and dancing eyes faded in an instant. She stopped looking at me, stared off in the distance and then collapsed in my arms crying. Nothing I said could comfort her or make her talk to me. She cried for close to an hour saying nothing. My heart was devastated; I was at a loss, all I could do is hold her.


This moment brought the realization crashing down on me that I am leaving very soon. I was distraught and dreaded saying goodbye to all the other children who have stolen my heart. I snapped out of this and decided to cherish every second left. I made my rounds to the dorms to say goodnight to the children who would not be at the overnight. When I came to kiss Enoch goodnight I memorized the smell of the tip top cream he and the other children use. I wrapped as many of the toddlers in my arms as I could fit, and tried to memorize the feel of their loving hugs. I went to bed recounting everything about this blessed month under the sizzling African sun surrounded by love and hope.


It was work as normal today even though most of the adults had stayed up all night. Their ability to function made me feel like a fool for not being able to handle the time I worked night shift. I went with the boys to fill the truck with elephant grass. I treasured my time under a shady banana tree with Alan pointing to various things and teaching me more luganda. I laughed as I was handed unripe coffee beans and guava fruit so that I could eat them. (The children are always picking unripe fruits and eating them when we are on the farm or away from the center.) I am starting to acquire a taste for these sour young fruits. I sang and clapped as the boys later danced and sang for me while taking a break from their laborious work.


There is so much I will miss. I will miss little hands slipping into mine as we walk. I will miss the feel of small arms circling my waist in a joyous hug; the children’s desire to always be near. I will miss hearing the delighted shouts from my children as they call my name “auntie Amy”. I will miss all the endless questions and chatter. I will miss the delight in them every time I get a luganda word right. I will miss being fed unripe fruit. I will miss the sound of the drums beating and the children singing as the children have their Sunday school worship on Saturday nights. I will miss how joyous people can be with so little. I will miss the cow that has no hope of ever sounding normal. I will miss boda boda rides and arguing over prices. I will miss chipati and half cakes and fresh passion fruit juice. I will miss the heat from the sun as it bakes the red clay earth and brightens the greenery. I will miss all the friends I have been blessed with during this time. All these things that I will miss will always be carried in my heart as a prominent and beautiful memory. I have been so blessed to have been able to spend this month surrounded by love, laughter and hope.


Relish your memories


Gypsy RN

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