Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially half way through this journey. It’s hard to believe six weeks have gone by. A previous Child Voice intern told me that the middle part is the hardest, and I’d have to agree. The project proposal I started out with is unfortunately, completely out of reach, and the ending feeling of accomplishment seems laughable. This morning I was thinking about my friend Emily (who is currently biking across America to fundraise for water wells in Africa) and wondering if this is what she must be feeling. The excitement of the trail is over and the end seems too many blistering miles to push pedal after pedal. Is it worth it? Why the hell did I want to bike 3,000 miles for in the first place when it’s really hard?! But she’s a champ so she’s probably not feeling those things 😉
The beautiful and wonderful CV office secretary, Hope, took Matt and I to a yoga class this week (it was awesome!!) and I met many wonderful people who are working here in Gulu for various reasons. One is starting a recycling program, one is running this yoga studio, one is teaching out in the villages, and another working in an orphanage. As we went around, sharing about ourselves and how we felt that day, I listened to many of them share their daily struggles of, “Is this what I’m going to do with the rest of my life?” I’ll never underestimate what missionaries (and/or devoted humanitarians) give up for a calling. It sounds idyllic and all on paper and in Facebook photos, but it takes a lot to miss all those birthdays, weddings, summer vacations with the family, weekend trips with friends, not to mention a real income.
Some days I get to do what I (sort of) set out to do and it’s great. Other days, I end up swearing under my breath and kicking the dirt. C’est la vie, right? It’s funny because it feels oddly similar to the last time I was in Africa when what was planned didn’t happen and I thought the lack of direction would kill me. But I’ve learned in these desert experiences to make like an Israelite and wander. Walk around. Meet people. Hear stories. Make connections. Ask how you can help.
In my wandering this week I met a wonderful lady who trains formerly abducted/HIV positive girls in sewing and runs a small shop with only four sewing machines. She actually left a large church where she was training 100+ women to train the few who weren’t getting reached. Her story is incredible and her task is a heavy one as she doesn’t have the space or supplies to grow and she hasn’t found anywhere to display what they make. She’s letting me come and do art therapy with them next week! Along with that, the yoga studio I mentioned earlier works with a group of HIV positive kids and is training some new instructors next week, so I will possibly be joining in to incorporate some Mandala-making with those classes. And to top it all off, I thought, why not just do art therapy with “our girls” (Concy, Grace, and Vivian) here at the house? Duh.
So, I guess you could say this week I learned, “Not all who wander are lost.”- J.R.R Tolkien.
Art therapy this week went really well when it didn’t get rained out and consisted of face painting with the bead women (see Facebook for those pictures) and drawing “A Day I’ll Never Forget” with the school kids. Here are some of kids’ work: