Reality and Opportunity

Final guest post by Jessica Duran


I wasn’t ready to leave Uganda yet, but my exhaustion was okay with the departure. The long journey home seemed like a dream as I finally reached my apartment after nearly 48 hours of travel. I slept a lot the next couple of days and went into a mild depression. I was sad to be back in this extravagant atmosphere. I struggled with listening to my friends talk of vacations and “needs” that in my mind were definitely “wants.”

For the first few days I lived in a dream world. Once I returned back to the office, reality set in that I was back to the same life I had left. I honestly felt like a stranger in my own home and office. I wanted to talk about my trip to anyone that would listen, to share the stories and heartaches of the children in the Teso region. Some asked about my trip; others didn’t. Once I started talking, it was hard to know when to stop. I felt like people didn’t care, but the truth is, most just don’t understand. I didn’t, either, until I saw it for myself. Pictures can’t accurately share the experience, and even these writings don’t do the hardships justice. 

I wanted to adjust back into this life, but not enough to get comfortable. I don’t ever want to forget the faces or the landscape, or the singing. I don’t want to spend money on useless things instead of giving it away to those who need it. I don’t want to get back to the typical American Dream that says I should want more, need more, and have more. We’ve been duped. That’s not the dream we should be dreaming. Saving lives, giving others the chance for an education.  Those dreams are worth dreaming. 
Even in this job I have struggled with the purpose I have. What difference does it make if people don’t know about the next great event happening in northeast Iowa? Sorry if offend anyone, but this job should not rule my time and ultimately, my life. I am thankful for a job, for this job. Without it, I would not be able to give any money. It is hard, though, to remember that this is just a means to an end. I want to do something meaningful with my life. I want to make a difference.

The primary reason I went to Uganda was to meet the 10-year-old girl I’ve been sponsoring. Such a small contribution from my bank account each month is paying for her food, medical care, education, and overall well-being. Many people probably do this through similar organizations, without ever thinking about the face behind the transaction. Children’s HopeChest, however, purposely encourages sponsors to visit their kids, in order to better understand the difference that $34 a month can make. In turn, they receive free advertising for their work, because not talking about the experience is just impossible. 

The great thing is, you don’t have to go to Africa or any other country to make a difference. You can support these children through your finances. Many people have expressed their support for helping children right here in America. I am obviously not opposed to this! My heart is in Africa, and this is why. The difference between being poor in Africa and being poor in America is this; there are no food pantries or homeless shelters, there is no DHS, and there are not people nearly everywhere with money in their pockets. Out there, in the bush, in these villages, everyone is hurting. There are 2.7 million orphans in this small country. The life expectancy is only 53 years old, with a poverty ratio of 31 percent. Giving them a full stomach really is the best use of your money.  Another cool thing is that you aren’t just paying for food, but a program that will help change their lives. 
From someone who has seen the difference it makes, I urge you to sponsor a child.  There are just over 50 children left within these two villages who need sponsors right now. Once these kids are sponsored, the team going in January will hopefully be able to add more to the program, making an even bigger difference in these small communities.  If you are interested in helping change a child’s life please click HERE and learn more!  
For $34 a month you can give children like this little boy Thomas with HIV hope for a future.  You give him food everyday, schooling, medical treatment, and the ability to learn about Jesus!  Please consider sacrificing something small for your self and change a child’s life!  You will never regret it!

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