The Morgan Family

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Visiting the guest blogger, Kayla Cervenka

I promised you a guest post and here it is!!  I love the idea of sharing our thoughts and fears with each other and adore this woman and her heart.  She has been in Uganda for about two weeks now and will be staying for about 4 and a half months doing an internship with Sole Hope.  This post is from the day we did resettlement and it was quite an experience!  Can't wait for you to enjoy it from her perspective...

It was my first time ever visiting a village in Uganda. I was really excited for this new experience but also a little unsure as people kept telling me it would be a long trip there.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. All I knew was that I was so excited that these children who had been living at the Outreach house were finally able to be resettled with their families! These children who came to Sole Hope, severely affected by jiggers, are now jigger free and full of hope! It is a beautiful transformation to see and it is why resettlement is such an exciting part of what Sole Hope does.

We loaded up the van and headed out towards the village.  There were 21 adults and children, and three babies in the van so it was quite a tight fit. I‘ve come to realize that this is quite typical for Uganda, so I just went along with it as a tiny one-month-old baby slept in my lap.

Eventually we went from pavement to red dirt roads and the ride got a little bumpier. We headed into Kamuli and along the way we dropped some people off while others hopped into the car. I was quite confused as random people kept coming in the car and at one point there were 25 of us all crammed into the van. Once again, I didn’t ask questions but just went along with it because hey, this is normal (I think)! As we headed further into the different villages children would wave and yell “Muzungu!” There was lots of smiling and waving out the van window and we passed the children. When it came time to drop off a few of the kids being resettled, we would pull over to the side and they would hop out. Before the children could even get out of the van there was already a crowd of children from the village gathered together outside our van. They would all just stare at us, eyes wide full of wonder. Many of them would wave and smile, occasionally saying something in Lusoga. It’s funny to me. There is often a language barrier, which can be hard, but I find it so beautiful that people can still radiate joy and love to one another without even a single word.  There was so much staring, smiling and giggling between one another as we passed through the villages. My mouth hurt from smiling so much but my heart was filled with so much joy!

We kept on bouncing along the bumpy red dirt roads, dropping children off along the way to their respective villages.  As we dropped of one of the children for resettlement, I got out of the van and there was a little girl staring at me. Her beautiful brown eyes looked interested yet terrified at the same time. I held my hand out and smiled, reassuring her that I wasn’t going to hurt her. As I slowly walked towards her she sprinted in the other direction and hid behind her mom. She was scared of me. I was foreign to her. She had never seen a white person. I was slightly in shock. What would it be like to never have seen someone that looked so differently than yourself? I realized it must have been like looking at a monster of some sort. Her mom reassured her that I was okay and with the help of her mother, the little girl slowly walked towards me, still looking quite unsure. I kept smiling
with my arm outstretched reassuring her that it was okay, even though she could not understand a word I was saying. She finally grabbed my hand and timidly said hello in Lusoga as she bowed down.  Bowing is a sign of respect around here, and as she knelt to the ground I stopped down beside her. As we knelt there, hand in hand, I couldn’t help but become flooded with emotion. This precious little girl has never seen a world beyond what she already knows. Her village, her people, only her own skin color. But here we were, from seemingly two different worlds, hand in hand, kneeling on the red dirt together speaking our own languages.  Yet even still, there was such a beautiful connection between us in that moment.

I loved my first experience of visiting the villages. It was all new to me and I loved getting to soak it all in. From seeing children return to their families, to experiencing a little girl’s courage overcome her fear, to simply being packed into a van with 25 people, it was an experience I will never forget.

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