As our bus neared the border to cross over into Kenya, I noticed three little girls on the side of the road. They were jumping up and down, screaming in excitement, and waving at those of us on the bus. I quickly realized that our bus passing by was a huge enjoyment for them and I thought to myself “How is it that their world is so small while my world is so big?”
Uganda was the place I was leaving and until the past couple weeks, I had never entered this community. One of the locations Under the Same Tree operates in is Kiboga, Uganda and we were welcomed into that community. The Ugandan people were gracious to me despite the fact I was a stranger, I did not know their language, and looked very different from them. They lived in this community their whole life while I lived on the other side of the world. Individuals I met this week will stick with me even as I travel though Kenya and travel back home.
There is the single mom who started her own primary school. She offers discounted tuition for those in need. She welcomes children without families into her home. She loves others so well.
There is the grandma who takes care of five children unrelated to her, going door to door asking neighbors to help her with school fees.
There is the mom who had to leave her children in another’s care so they could go to school. We watched this mom fight to get her children back.
There is the people in the church who made sure we had someone translating for us even if that meant everyone else had to move.
There is the little girl who pushed me over in church so she could sit between a friend and me. We had never met her before.
There is the Under the Same Tree volunteer who took a week off from her paying job to make sure everyone’s needs were met. The same volunteer’s brother picked us up from a taxi stand on short notice when we had nobody to pick us up.
Their world may be smaller than mine but their hearts seem so much bigger. There is a joy in the small things and a simple way of life that I could learn from. There is a graciousness and a hospitality that some of us will never offer. Many of these individuals never look at themselves and regret what they don’t have, instead they ask what do I have to offer? They then stand up and give it away. I was a stranger to Kiboga and to Uganda until recently, however, the people are now in my heart.