Home and forever changed- by Alissa Coyle
I miss them a lot.
I’ve gone through the pictures numerous times.
Watched the videos over and over.
And really, I’ve got those kids on the backgrounds of my phone, in my profile picture and just about everywhere else.
Not only do I intentionally want to keep them near the front of my mind, but I really don’t want to forget these kids. I don’t want to forget all of those faces with the eyes that were looking up at me all of the time and those big smiles. I don’t want to forget all of those hands that I held. I don’t want to forget all of the dancing they do and songs they love to sing (that then get stuck in your head). I don’t want to forget the fact of all of the water bottles that we shared with them when we were done drinking out of them. I don’t want to forget how much they showed me about sharing. And most certainly, I don’t want to forget the great love that they showed me.
While I was over there visiting, during the day they would keep us distracted. If I thought of home while I was with them it was most likely because the kids wanted to know what it’s like over here, or just that you want to take all of them with you. Otherwise I would think of home very rarely because before you can even start thinking you have four little hands holding onto yours and ten pairs of eyes looking up at you.
Now that I’m at home, they distract my mind. I think of them all quite frequently throughout the day. People will ask about it and in my head I just picture those kids dancing with big smiles on their faces.
This trip was a whole new experience for me all around. Honestly, Uganda almost seems like a whole another world. Besides that though, I had never been on a trip with HopeChest before, let alone been out of the country. For this being my first HopeChest trip, I had the best people to go and experience everything with. We had a small, but mighty team that was full of getting things done, competition, and being very nice to each other at all times.
One super fun and cool thing that I got to experience was meeting the little girl I sponsor. Her name is Acao Catherine.
She is the sweetest thing and she was so happy to have visitors and get to meet me. It was kind of hard not being able to communicate too much with her because she does not know how to speak English yet (luckily though there are quite an amount of older kids that speak English and help translate). She hung around me most of the time while I was there and I also got to go and visit the hut that she sleeps in and the village area their huts are in. Prior to my trip, I had heard they love to give gifts to visitors. What I didn’t know though is a lot of the kids will raise up chickens to give to their sponsor when they come to visit (isn’t that the sweetest?!?). These kids and families have so little and a chicken is something they could use as food, but they are still so willing to give. With that being said, at the end of my visit, I received a chicken. I was super appreciative of her gift to me, but here is a picture to express how I felt about holding the chicken:
One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to see the kids in Bukedea receive the gifts from their sponsors. One specific kid sticks out to me when I think of this time. This kid had received a fruit snack in their package and when opening it up to eat, they tore each of those pieces in that fruit snack package up into many pieces to give to other kids that hadn’t received a fruit snack. What a precious way to see what God wants us to do with the gifts He gives to us.
I don’t know that I’ve ever been more thankful for an experience than the one I received while I was in Uganda. An experience I never would’ve been able to receive just from being in a classroom (which speaking of, I’m super appreciative of my superintendent and teachers for working with me and being excited for this opportunity that I received).
There are many kids that are still in need of sponsors so they can receive food, an education, and hope. If you’re interested in sponsoring a kid, I would love to assist you in that process (you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org) or if you want to check out Children’s HopeChest and see all of the kids waiting for a sponsor, you can visit their website at: https://orphansofteso.com/sponsor-a-child/ Below are two of the many kiddos waiting for someone to change their life!!
Thank you for letting me share just a glimpse of my experience! If you have any questions, feel free to ask.