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RN volunteer trip to Uganda

First world decadence

BELGIUM | Tuesday, 1 November 2016 | Views [263] | Comments [1]

I arrived in Belgium yesterday. The first thing I noticed was my breath when I got off the plane. I definitely wasn’t in Africa anymore. I am going to miss the heat of Africa. I got myself to central station in Brussels where I threw my luggage in a locker and then began my self-guided walking tour of Brussels. I am just another face in the crowd here. No one gives eye contact and offers a hello. Everyone just bustles by on the street, even jostling you at some points because you are just an invisible number again. I have no small dark children running up to me yelling, “muzungo how are you”. Those children and the people of Uganda have spoiled me with love. They did not spoil me with coffee though, so this was my first priority. I made a beeling to a waffle shop just by the grand place and had my first real Belgium waffle with a coffee that sent tingles to my toes. I followed a walking guide from a guidebook by Rick Stevens. It was quick and informative. Everywhere I looked, there were clean, well-dressed people, no look of hunger in their eyes. There were of course a scattering of a few beggars and gypsies, but even they had better clothing than my Buziikan’s. There are no groups of small barefoot children racing through the streets trying to take whatever they can find, with jiggers planted in their feet. I do not hear the language of Luganda that I have become so accustomed to. It was difficult greeting some people because I would start out a greeting in Luganda out of habit, thankfully I know just a bit of French so I was able to quickly switch to that.


The statue of the little boy peeing was a site to see. He’s actually quiet small. The grand place had incredible architecture. This is Europe though; all their historic buildings architecture is breath taking. Brussels was an easy city to learn in a short few hours. I was able to navigate without a problem. I finished my tour ahead of schedule and just wanted to get to bed after my travel. So I grabbed some Belgian chocolates and a beer and boarded the train the Bruges. I arrived in the early evening and had to navigate from the station to the center of town. The crowds were massive here and reminded me yet again of my own insignificance. No one said excuse me, no one looked you in the eye, no one offered a smile, no little hand slipped in to mine. I saw people pushing their fat pet dogs in baby carriages and I wanted to scream. Dogs have 100 times better life here than the children in Buziika who are as young as 4, walking 6 miles, barefoot and in rags for clothing, to fetch water in large jugs that their strong able bodies will carry home. Some children will never no a fraction of the love that the pampered dogs are receiving. I saw children’s clothing stores displaying tiny fur coats to make the young one’s here look chic. I cannot believe that my life was one to be born into such decadence while my kids will always have to struggle. There are so many resources in this world. It makes no sense to me why some of us live in extravagance while others curl up on a hard clay floor and wait for the inevitable. I am definitely feeling an immense amount of guilt for enjoying first world comforts while there are children being fed alcohol just so they don’t feel their hunger and they can try to sleep.


I am by no means saying Africa has the only suffering people. There are homeless people throughout the world. In my hometown of Asheville I am constantly crossing paths with homeless veterans asking for money. The only difference is the density of those stricken by poverty. In the first world you have scatterings of street people. In Africa it seems as if you only have a scattering of people who can afford the necessities of life. I do not believe there should be hunger or homelessness anywhere. We have an over abundance in first world countries. We should be able to do something to help the desperate, instead of us clinging to our money like a life raft. We do not have to live like Mother Theresa and give up all our money and possessions, but we do have the responsibility to help where we are able.


You can’t take it with you when you go


Gypsy RN



Thanks for your message Gypsie RN. You have brought a seed of awareness to my day. May your transition be filled with opportunities for impact to those of us making up the crowd. Keep the fire stoked. Love you!

  Chris Nov 3, 2016 7:00 AM

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