I’ve experienced some things here that will change the way I live. Some have been absolutely shocking, and some have just been little details that give me something to think about.
Two specific situations in which I’ve learned to
count my blessings:
A Ugandan woman named Brenda tells me that her dream was to be a doctor, but she could not afford the schooling, which is 400 American dollars per semester. Later, Brenda walks ahead of me in the bush during pelting rains. All of us following her are complaining about our shoes getting ruined by mud and sinking into the ground with every step. She turns her head to the sky and, with a smile, proclaims, “Rain is a blessing!”
Fred (our driver) and Herbert (our guide), two of the kindest people I’ve ever met, have a conversation with me. I learn that both of them work for 2 or 3 months at a time, see their families (with small children) for a week, then get back to work for another few months. And they consider themselves lucky. Herbert has a degree in chemistry and computer science. How often do I take for granted a source of income and the opportunities I have as an American student and citizen?
These people, and the ones we have interviewed, have taught me more than I thought I could learn in one week.
After seven days of nonstop filming, interviews, driving, and emotionally taxing situations, tomorrow we start the relaxing part of our trip.
As excited as I am for a game drive (safari) and fresh tilapia at the source of the Nile, it’s going to feel radically different after witnessing all the poverty in the surrounding area.
So, as we embark on the “fun” leg of our journey, I’m taking it in with different point of view, Chaco’s tanlines on my feet, and a fried grasshopper in my stomach.
I won’t lie and say I’m not ready for break; I’m exhausted. It just seems a little excessive to be paying for these typical tourist sites when almost all of the families we have met here can’t afford shoes.
I have a feeling that this fresh point of view will stay with me forever; I don’t see how it could leave.