Sadly it is time to say goodbye as my time in Uganda comes to an end. There are not enough words to describe the last 6 months. It has been absolutely amazing.
Laughter, Laughter and more Laughter
Back in the UK we often have this perception of Africa where everyone is suffering. We see pictures of children starving or suffering during droughts (after the amount of rain we’ve had over the past 4 months I am struggling to imagine this) and war. However, these images give a very one sided picture and do not show the other side to Africa. Although there is suffering and extreme poverty, Ugandan people are happy, fun, generous and caring people. At the drop in centre and the house we hear laughter and giggles all day long. Not once have I heard any of the children complaining about their life. Instead, they make the most of what they have and they are grateful for anything extra they get! I have learnt so much from these children and hope that back in the UK I will remember their constant smiles, their generosity and their willingness to share what little they have.
The highs and the lows
Whilst it has been an incredible 6 months, it has been a rollercoaster full of highs and lows. I still remember the first time I went to the drop in centre. I had been told what to expect; lots of children sniffing drugs and at times lots of fighting. But until you arrive there you can’t even begin to imagine what it is like. Seeing children as young as seven years old so high they can hardly talk was quite upsetting to begin with. Sadly, as time went on, it became normal to see and something that no longer shocked me. Of course hearing some of the awful stories of why the children are on the street is at times very upsetting but these moments are overshadowed when you are able to offer that child help.
One of the highlights of the 6 months had to be the International Day of the Street Child. Celebrating the rights of these children with them, seeing them marching through town in aid of their rights and for once being able to have a voice was amazing. Even more amazing was watching them celebrate the day with football and netball matches against a local school, a dance competition and lots of fun and laughter. For one day they were able to be children again, have fun and speak out for their rights!
After lots of sad goodbye’s I am now back in the UK and already wondering….. How soon can I return to Uganda to spend more time with the most amazing children I have ever met?