I love taking pictures of people. I love fashion. I love this beautiful Ugandan mountainside. So naturally, a makeshift "fashion shoot" happened on our trip. It was a perfect moment - we were driving along a mountain road, headed towards Bundibugyo, when we saw this look out and immediately, everyone was overwhelmed by the beauty. God's handiwork was on display and we were dying to stop and photograph it. It was our first glimpse of western Uganda and it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The valley provided the perfect backdrop as the wind blew through my sweet team members' hair.
The blog title refers to the hashtag that was used for our team during our stay in Uganda. Although not all team members are pictured here, I am so thankful for each and everyone one of them. They are the only people who will ever know exactly what happened that week + that is something I will cherish forever. We had to bond over only having one bathroom for 7 people, warm water for only 4 out of the 7 showers each night, listening to trucks blaring music at 11pm, spotty wifi, and getting our van stuck in the mud, but even more than that, we had the privilege of bonding over listening to sweet stories of beautiful students, dancing +singing Disney songs, exploring students' villages, and witnessing God's love play out tangibly. There is something amazing about being in 'uncomfortable/ unfamiliar' situations with people that will bring you together like nothing else. I am so thankful for Whitney + Nick and The Archibald Project, for connecting such wonderful ladies and bringing us together for a once in a lifetime experience.
Beauty, both in nature and in people, was a huge theme throughout this trip. I was amazed by the beauty that surrounded one of the poorest areas in Uganda (Bundibugyo). My teammates and I witnessed/ heard a lot of hard stories over the short time we were there. Being able to witness the courage and grace from the students we became friends with was so inspiring. God brought about different forms of beauty that I had never seen before. Beauty in the walks from our house to the school every day. Beauty in the classrooms with children learning + engaging with their teachers. Beauty on the soccer fields filled with passionate players and beautiful mountains in the background. I learned to appreciate so much more during daily life while I was there. Time moves much slower in Uganda than it does in the United States - things take so much longer to get done or things break a little more often which forces you to slow down and learn patience.
I felt so inspired by the people and their courage/ grace while living in a place that is seemingly full of despair, at least to an outsider. Yes it is a poor city, but there is so much hope. Hope that is brought by the next generation getting an education, either through Christ School or the other public schools in neighboring villages. Hope in the Gospel that is being spread by the students to their family and community. It was beautiful to see the encouragement from the teachers who the students have so much respect for. The girls are encouraged to finish school and foster their God given talents. The boys are taught to do the same and taught to respect women in a way that culture has not necessarily encouraged.
This blog post appears to be a lot of random thoughts, but that seems to be where my mind is at these days; jumbled thoughts of thankfulness, confusion, 'what's next?', feeling awestruck, and wishing I could return to that one week, that was now 6 weeks ago. Well, if you made it to this point, thanks for reading to the end of this post. More rambling thoughts to come!