Perspectives from Uganda

December 19, 2015.  I boarded a plane for Uganda, Africa.  Uganda is a landlocked country in east Africa with a population of around 37 million people and an average life expectancy of around 53 years.  Over 7% of Uganda’s population live with HIV/AIDS.  Life in Uganda is hard, and I was going there with 4 other friends to visit a couple of orphanages and love on the kiddos.

One of our first stops was to the slums of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, where children are often left to fend for themselves.  Houses in the slums are basically rooms cut out of concrete walls–no electric, no plumbing, no furniture, no doors.  They are just holes in the wall.  We met 25 boys who all “lived” in 2 rooms that were about 10 x 10 .  Once or twice a week, rice is cooked and given to the children in the slums.  For many, this is the only meal they will have all day, or even for several days.  And it’s just rice.  Nothing else.  How many times do I complain that I don’t have anything to eat when it’s really more that I don’t want the choices that are in front of me?

360We visited both a boys’ and a girls’ home.  Many of the boys came from the slums.  Many of the girls were abandoned by their families.  I’d love to show more pictures but technical limitations won’t let me.

Perspectives change when I go on international trips, which is a good thing.  It’s easy for me to get caught up in my own little world, to develop tunnel vision, and forget that there’s a majority of the world’s population just struggling to survive every day.   Some how it makes the ants crawling over my counter tops in my comfy house where there is running water, electricity, heat and air conditioning nothing to get bent out of shape about.  Hearing these kids’ stories, seeing how they live in the slums, watching them pump water for all of life’s necessities, certainly redefines a bad day in my world.

370After all, I’m going to get up in the morning, turn on the faucet for a nice warm shower, choose from multiple options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, relax on my soft, comfy couch and when it’s time, go to a job that pays me more than enough to buy all the things I need.  I hope the next time I’m grumbling about how hard marathon training is that I remember my young Ugandan friends who pump and haul water and hoe the garden all before a breakfast of millet porridge and without a single complaint or frown.   I have no idea what hard is…


Author: Juanita

Thanks for dropping in! I'm Juanita. People tell me I don't look like a Juanita since I'm red headed and freckled with super pale skin, but what's in a name, right? I'm a 40-something, single (as in no kids, never been married) gal from Oklahoma. I'm a nurse and most importantly, a follower of Jesus. I love chocolate, am scared of heights, and petrified of snakes. After my fortieth birthday and coming to grips with the fact that I was obese, I discovered I'm a runner and a CrossFitter, and that there's a whole lot of life left to live. I just had to get past the fat, stare down the fear, and realize that 40 is not too old for new beginnings. So this is the story of my struggles and adventures in the quest to live a healthy life in mind, body, and soul.

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