Showing posts from June, 2014

My Response

Date: June 26, 2014
Location: Nkozi, Uganda

I'm sure you've either read or heard of this article: "Instagramming Africa: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism" (click the title for a link to the article)

There's something I'd like to address.

Yes, I agree, it is important to make sure that your heart is in the right place before coming to a place like Uganda - i.e. are you doing this to receive praise and admiration from family and friends, or are you doing this to learn new things and to experience discomfort for the glory of God?

But, I assure you, I have my heart in the right place.

All I know is this: I came here for Jesus. I came here to learn - to open my mind, heart, and spirit in ways never before. And boy, have I learned or what.

I am not ignorant enough to think a random white person like me can actually change an entire country like Uganda. That's not my goal. My goal is simply to love this place and be loved by it.


For those of y…


Date: June 24, 2014 Location: Nkozi, Uganda

In all of my theological pursuits, questions, and wanderings, I have received the same advice over and over again: "In order to be like Jesus, you must do exactly what He did."
For years I wrestled with that statement, wondering what it even means or where to even begin. In order to be like Jesus, you must do exactly what He did. Okay, so what exactly did He do?
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35
If you know me, you know I'm not very good at mornings. If you're a morning person, God bless you because the rest of us can't comprehend how you do it.
So maybe I'm not ready to conquer the "very early in the morning" part of Mark 1:35. But leaving the house, going off to a solitary place, and praying? That, on the other hand, I can do.
This morning, my Ugandan besto (best friend) Vyna Kush went …


Date: June 22, 2014
Location: Mbale, Uganda (Aggie's house)

"We come from a very loving home. In our home, we are taught to go out there and love. If you love, life won't be as hard for you. If you are conservative and stick to yourself, life will be much harder. Just love. That's what this life is all about. Just love."

This weekend, David, Fiona, and I were fortunate enough to meet Aggie's (my Ugandan roommate's) family. We travelled eight hours to Eastern Uganda to the town where Aggie grew up, Mbale. When we met her older sister, Perina, she greeted us with the words above, and of course she concluded with the words, "You are most welcome," as most Ugandans seem to do. "Most welcome...most welcome. We are so happy to have you here. Nnsanyuse Okukulaba." (probably didn't spell that last part right but I do know how to pronounce it!)

Soon thereafter, the "welcome" we received extended beyond words. And by that I mean Agg…


Date: June 15, 2014
Location: Fort Portal, Uganda

One of the very first things I noticed about this place is the lack of mirrors. I hate admitting this because it sounds so superficial, but I couldn't help but wish for a simple mirror the first few weeks I was here.

Here, life is so simple. It's all about the basics. I wake up in the morning, hang up my mosquito net, change clothes, brush my teeth, wash my face, put in my contacts, and head out to work on my research for the day. No time is spent looking into a mirror, analyzing blemishes, applying makeup, etc. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't, as I have yet to find a single mirror in our dorm, on this campus, or in our village.

Last weekend we stayed in a fairly nice hotel in Fort Portal (shoutout to my site partner David for gracefully breaking our mosquito net), and it was the first time in three weeks I saw myself in a mirror. It was also the first time in three weeks I got to take a semi-hot shower, so basically I felt…


Date: June 9, 2014 Location: Nkozi, Uganda
“In a late 2003 Gallup International poll of some 43,000 individuals in 51 countries, twice as many respondents rated international security as ‘poor’ as those who answered ‘good.’ Almost half of those interviewed think the next generation will live in a less safe world, while only 25% said they expected an improvement. And in a series of World Bank-facilitated consultations involving some 20,000 poor people in 23 developing countries, a large majority said they were worse off than before, had fewer economic opportunities, and lived with greater insecurity than in the past.”***
The day I found out that I was accepted into Notre Dame’s International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) was one of the best days of my life. I couldn’t wait to get to Uganda. Yet when I shared the news with family and friends, they did not seem as excited as I was.
“Uganda?! Are you crazy?!” “It’s too dangerous!!!” “How do you know you’ll be safe??” “DON’T DIE!!!”


Date: June 6, 2014 Location: Nkozi, Uganda
“About half of Africa’s population is deemed to live in extreme poverty, and that proportion has risen slightly over the period.”***
As true as that statement may be in an economic sense, it is the furthest thing from true in an emotional sense. Yes, at times, their wallets may be empty, but I mean it when I say that I have yet to meet a single person here who is empty of heart.
My Ugandan roommate Agatha (Aggie) has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known. Yesterday, I was taking a nap (not a surprise…if you know me, you know my bed is my best friend) and halfway through I woke up to Aggie putting a blanket over me because she said I looked cold and she wanted me to sleep as comfortably as possible. She has such a big heart for others…she’s like a best friend and a second mom all in one. Every night we stay up late laughing and talking about life and family and school and boys (who needs ‘em) and everything else in between. With each conversat…


Date: May 30, 2014 Location: Nkozi, Uganda
Sekka. The Luganda word for “laugh.” My favorite sound in the world is laughter. When my Ugandan friends take pictures of the kids in our village, they say, “Sekka! Sekka!” It’s like saying, “Cheese!” in America. But whenever I try saying sekka to the kids here, they laugh even harder because I sound like such a muzungu (white person) when I try to speak Luganda. But I don’t mind…because there’s nothing better than a child’s laughter. It’s like music to my ears. I say, “Olina emyaka emeka?” (How old are you?) and they say “Satu” (3) or “Munaana” (8) or “Kkumi” (10), but they usually end with laughter because my accent is so horrible and so not tribal at all. (However, my Ugandan friend Kush did say I at least looked African yesterday, with my tribal skirts and dresses, so I’m kind of starting to blend in, right??? Nah. Maybe by week 8 the kids will stop staring at me like I’m an albino squirrel). Anyway, I love the children’s laughter. I could…