I can’t believe i’m halfway through my fifth week in Jinja. It feels like time is just flying by. I’ve been really surprised by how comfortable I feel here. Up until this last week i’ve had very little anxiety and have just felt a sense of peace being here. Even now, my anxiety has nothing to do with Uganda. If anything being in Uganda is helping to push those obsessive, repetitive thoughts away and shift them to Jesus and his promises to us.
I went on some adventures this week, continued to be amazed by the tiny humans at Ekisa and the people that God has created them to be, and just really have fallen into a routine here, which I am so thankful for. Being in Uganda i’ve realized that I am a total homebody. Not in the sense that one specific place is home and I need to be there, but wherever I am at the moment I like to be rooted in one “home base” and to be there often. I like sleeping in my own bed (wherever it may be at the moment; Jinja, Los Angeles, Seattle, a random hotel…) and I like to develop a routine. I’m most definitely an introverted person who recharges and get’s all the energy from being alone and introspective. Knowing and realizing this used to make me feel incredibly selfish. Like who hangs out with someone for a a few hours and then needs a few alone after that to regroup? Me.
But this past weekend has really helped me to be okay with that aspect of my personality. A few friends from different organizations and I went on what was supposed to be an overnight weekend trip to a place called Sipi Falls about 3-5 hours east of Jinja. We left around 6:00 AM and me and another girl on the trip had each individually texted our families that we didn’t want to go but never told the other. Long story short? We went to Sipi, hiked for four hours, got back to the banda we were staying in, tried to sleep, and 45 minutes later one girl sits up and goes, “Wouldn’t it just be so nice if we all slept in our own beds tonight and then went to Kampala tomorrow to see a movie?” It was so funny how we were all on the same page but it took until then for us to realize it.
So that is exactly what we did, and i’m so thankful that we listened to what we wanted and what our bodies and minds were telling us to do instead of just staying. There was definitely judgment from some and at that point we all decided that no matter what others said, we were making the right call for us and that is truly all that matters.
This summer has looked much different than I believed it would, in many ways both good and bad. The challenges have been abundant, but so have the moments of joy. And no matter if something doesn’t go or look the way you had hoped it would, it doesn’t make that experience bad or not worth-while. That’s been something that has been hard for me to reconcile; that you can have conflicting emotions and feelings and both are true and valid and don’t negate the other.
I’ve met and been blessed with some amazing friends (who I lovingly refer to as the Mads (: because there names are Madisyn, Madeline, and Maddy) who I went to Sipi with, got to meet and learn and create relationships with the sweetest kids on the planet, and have gotten to see different aspects of an NGO that works in the field I see my future career in.