This song was a favorite of my mothers. She lived by this prayer and inspired me to do the same.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
Do we take time in our lives to realize the extent of events around us and the entirety of what is actually occurring in others lives?
In the United States we are so busy. We have every minute of every second planned out. If we aren’t doing something we are racing to accomplish something else. Very rarely do we have time for meditation or reflection. Besides that, very rarely do we actually have time to fully experience the world around us.
We live in a fast food, fast pace nation. Everything we have must be fast, our internet to making our meals. But, what do we loose in the process? We loose the ability to take note. We don’t have time to smell the flowers. Relationships with those immediately around us suffer, even in our own immediate family’s.
John O’Keefe spoke in reflection about the lack of time we as a whole are willing to give. He said, “The one thing the poor have that we don’t is time.”
In, Africa this is becoming increasingly apparent to me. There is a difference between Ugandan time and regular time. The sense of length is just completely different. The people are more then willing to give their time to us. When we visited Ave Maria school yesterday they had taken the time to welcome us with open arms and song. They performed for us songs and dances. In my days, while we do have activities planned out, we have the time to notice the small things about the world around us. We are able to be present with those around us. We notice the world, the kindness of the people. We notice more in depth the reality of what is happening in their lives.
I wonder how our perspectives would change if we took the time to live a little more slow paced and notice what is actually going on around us.
I hope I never have to drive in Ugandan traffic. These past to days have been interesting driving around the city. I feel like the entire population is playing one giant game of chicken. There are pedestrians, bicycles, motor bikes, cars and buses, all sharing the road. No ts to get out of each other’s ways. Today we drove from Kampala to Lake Victoria. It was an hour and a half drive. Parts of the road were barely big enough for two cars to drive by. We pass by cars so closely you could easily reach out and tough them. In the city, cars merge leaving no space between them. Each time when we go to stop my hands clench because of the small time and space left. In the round-abouts people force there way into unimaginably small spaces. The other thing that is slightly terrifying is the fact that traffic drives on the left side of the road. I have become accustom to seeing cars stream past me on the right. But when left hand turns are made it makes me hold my breath. I feel myself pushing down my right foot in attempts to use an imaginary brak There is no opportunity for you to be a passive driver. You must be assertive and push your way in. As a passenger it is best to try not to pay attention to where you are going or, if worse comes to worse, just hold your breath and prey.
As I sit in Carol’s room sitting to write this blog, the roosters crow in the background and I have a gorgeous view of the city of Kampala. What a whirlwind last couple of days. I have faced my fear of small planes and seen an area of the world that is completely new and different to anything I have ever seen.
Two nights ago, after a little over twenty six hours of travel, layovers in Amsterdam and Detroit, and a stop in Rwanda, we made it to our hotel in Kampala. At that time I was so exhausted it seemed almost surreal that was as actually in the middle of Africa.
The first plane ride was a nerve racking, we were in a twenty six passenger plane. A plane so small that not all the bags would fit in the overhead bin. I felt claustrophobic just sitting in my seat. I swear that first plane ride took longer than the other plane rides combined.
Yesterday morning, I woke up slightly more rested, to a beautiful view of the city. It became completely clear to me ready or not I’m here. We had a light breakfast and then we went off in search of a bank to exchange money. We went to a market to shop for souvenirs. I met a local artist and we talked about his work and the fact we both had brothers named Stephen. He told me some about his life and his faith. We visited both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Ugandan martyrs shrine. My favorite part however has been driving around and seeing all the different parts of town and looking briefly into the lives of the people. Seeing women carrying baskets on there heads, smelling trash burning and seeing children laugh and play music are sights completely new and exciting.
Today, we have a busy day ahead of us. I cannot wait to explore this beautiful country.
I believe I was born with a travel gene. My parents both started traveling internationally at an early age. My mother spent her 18th birthday exploring Europe and my father took family trips exploring Mexico and Ireland. My mom lived in both The Ivory Coast and Japan. When my parents were first married they spent months traveling around the world. As I child they taught me an appreciation for other cultures and the important things a person learns from the world in traveling. I was able to travel to both Japan and Mexico as a child. I have fond memories wandering a Japanese toy store looking at the Japanese Barbie Dolls, and playing in a park covered in cherry blossoms. In high school, I was given the opportunity to travel to both Panama and Costa Rica with a program called Global Challenge. Since then I have had a severe case of wanderlust.
Going into college I knew that I wanted to study abroad at some point and time. Unfortunately, that did not ultimately work out. I kept looking into various programs Creighton and the Catholic Volunteer Network had to offer. I have had many friends who have gone on the previous backpack journalism trips. Between facebook creeping albums in an attempt to live vicariously through pictures, or speaking to students if even just briefly about their experiences in either Uganda or the Dominican Republic, I knew that the program was something I needed to seriously look into.
After looking into the trip I decided that it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Though I knew nothing about video making or journalism, the chance to learn about a culture so different from my own was something I just couldn’t pass up.
Now, approximately 32 hours before I leave, I am looking at the clothes, medicine, cameras, and other backpack journalism essentials sprawled across my floor and I am quite honestly a little overwhelmed. So much to pack. So much unknown. I have been learning the ins and outs of making a documentary these past couple days and still have a lot to learn, but I know with practice and help, it will all come together.
I am unbelievably excited to start a new adventure. I can’t wait to board the plane and get there already!