The people of Uganda have experienced appalling brutality. The country has suffered from one of the highest levels of corruption and is considered one of the poorest nations in the world. I visited the small town of Lira with a non-profit called Saving Grace in Uganda, to bring supplies and hope to the orphans, and show love to the street children.
While visiting the children’s home, I heard devastating stories of pain, hunger, and death. I cried at the sight of street children eating from the trash and was saddened every time I saw shoeless feet. Even 6 years after my return from visiting Lira, Uganda, I often reminisce on my experience and lessons learned.
3 Lira Lessons I often forget:
1: Stress is a serial killer
Being in Lira distanced me from my everyday stressors and added perspective to my struggle. For some women in that area, their everyday stressor is walking miles to fetch clean water for their families. In my experience stress is not content with staying in one area of our lives. Once we allow it in, it seeps into other areas affecting sleep, concentration, lifestyle habits, appetite, and relationships. Thinking back on Lira reminds me to keep perspective in mind, and stress on a leash.
2: Chatter is overrated
One of my favorite Lira memories is that of coloring with (at the time) 10-year-old Sarah. For over an hour Sarah and I sat in silence, coloring. Not a word exchanged, but smiles showed evidence of contentment. There was no discomfort in the silence until Sarah suddenly burst out in laughter. Taken aback, I asked, “What’s so funny?” Sarah looked at me smiling and said: “Nothing, I am just happy.” Tears filled my eyes, as I was enveloped by love. Quality time with our loved ones, and connecting to each other, goes beyond language. Sometimes our loved ones just want our company, no chatter is A-ok!
3: Perseverance is rewarded
Each individual experiences their fair share of pain. Witnessing parentless children, who have been violated, summon their resilience and become well adjusted young adults is inspiring. The work being done through Saving Grace in Uganda has transformed the children in their care. The hope and the resources from this nonprofit have changed their community and everyone who comes in contact with them. Their lives are a testament to their resilience and the fruits of perseverance (and grace).
Have you ever had a moment like mine with Sarah, where no words are needed?