Where have the last three months gone? Somehow today marked the last clinic day for two of our interns, Haley and Hannah. There is such a bittersweet feeling that accompanies leaving this place that you’ve grown to love – a place you call home. This country, these people, they stay with you even after your feet leave this beautiful red dirt. Today, Hannah and Haley share the fun of today, the lessons they’ve learned, and how they’ve grown over the past few months. We are sad to see them go, but this is just a “goodbye for now”. – Lis Steckle, International Coordinator
Today was such a good day.
In our brief three months in Uganda, we have learned to expect the unexpected. Today was the perfect example as we pulled into the school that we were supposed to have a clinic at – upon arrival we found the school full of children sitting back-to-back taking their end of the semester exams. We spotted a few of our beloved outreach children in the school room, and shamelessly distracted them from their tests blowing kisses and waving like crazy mzungus. We caught the eyes of Monti, Jackson, Samuel, and Samson as they desperately tried to focus on their tests – and oh, how adorable they were in their Sole Hope shirts.
In an effort to let the kids actually finish their exams, and with no feet to wash or dig jiggers out of, we decided it was probably best we left with no clinic today. For a split second, our hearts sunk. Today was our last clinic, and how unfortunate that we wouldn’t get to finish it the way we started it – on stools, side by side, washing the feet, laughing with these beautiful ebony faces. How sad that we wouldn’t get to hug the little bodies and kiss the little faces of the children we have come to know over the last three months. But then, just as sadness sunk in, joy came and swept us up as we ran down the dirt road and saw Gloria at the water pump beaming a smile that only Gloria can muster up. Joy flooded in as Edwin walked around the corner in his Sole Hope shirt with a swagger and smile that could melt even Simon Cowell’s heart. Joy settled in as we smiled, danced, and laughed in pictures, and as Morgan perfectly captured moments we will take with us always. Joy overcame us as we drove down those red dirt roads in a van full of old and new friends, in a village we have come to know as ‘home’, listening to Rend Collective – worshipping our insanely good God.
Here in Uganda, you kind of have to roll with the punches. Sometimes, things go as planned, but more often than not it doesn’t happen as we expect it to. Which is how I would sum up our time here. Completely unexpected. Of course, we expected to wash feet and remove jiggers – but we didn’t expect to fall in love with the children we met. We expected to work closely with Ugandans – but we didn’t expect to be able to call them our big brothers and sisters. We expected it to be hard – but we didn’t expect to be broken into so many pieces that the only place to go is at the foot of Jesus. We expected to experience the Lord – but we didn’t expect to experience the joy He feels creating life, and the joy He feels calling His children home. We expected to learn as much as possible – but we didn’t expect that these lessons would come from children at least half our age. We expected to see lives changed – but we didn’t expect to be the ones changed.
All in all, our time here in Uganda has been pulled out from under us. We turned around and recognized that it was almost the first of August. We realized that in a matter of days we would be back in our families arms. While this fleeting thought of home flashed through our minds, we now know that a piece of our hearts will forever be in the village of Wakisi. They will forever be wrapped and intertwined in the lives of each outreach child. Our hearts will forever be here in Uganda. We are sad to walk these red dirt roads that have stained our feet forever red for the last time, but we will always remember that, “if not, He is still good.”
Hannah and Haley