We decided to change things up this week and ask the interns a few questions. Hopefully their answers will give a little insight to what life in Uganda is like!
What was your best experience so far?
There are so many different memories that I will forever remember and love from these last few weeks. It is close to impossible to pick a favorite experience, each day has it's own set of challenges and rewards. I absolutely love going into the village but my favorite day was probably last Saturday, when literally nothing went as planned. There was a funeral in the village that we usually go to, and a Visiting Orphans team was scheduled to come. So the night before plans were shuffled around and we ended up taking this team to the village that Healing Faith has served in the past. When I was in Uganda this past January my team had the opportunity to visit, play and deworm in this village and I really bonded with a little boy named Michael. We had not been back to this village all summer, but I have been praying for Michael every day since January. I have no idea what his story was or home life was like but his tinny hands and smile were imprinted on my heart. Saturday I got to spend the majority of the day playing games and having a fun day with the little boy that I have been praying over for so long. He is a huge reason I choose to come back to Healing Faith, although I knew that I would probably not be able to see him this summer. I will never forget the feeling of being able to see him again and his face when I remembered his name. I loved having the opportunity to pray over this child while holding him, which was such a change from the past 6 months. Healing Faith is all about relationships and people and getting to bond with children is so important. This was just a perfect reminder to me as to why and how much of an impact these kids have had on me. We have had a long few weeks with a lot of new visitors and transitions and it was a perfect sign from God that I am exactly where I need to be this summer. I am officially half way through my internship and have fallen in love with so many children, but Michael will always have a special place in my heart and a space in my nightly prayers.
My best experience, as a Healing Faith intern, has been implementing everything
Kari and Jason have taught me so far. One day in the village, I noticed a little girl named Latifa. She looked really fatigued, was running a fever, and something about her just seemed off. I brought her to Jason in order to get tested for malaria. Sure enough, she had the disease. We were able to start her on medication right away! When I saw her the following week, she looked a lot better and her teacher said she was doing great! I know that if God had brought me here just to recognize that one case, then it has been a summer well spent! I am so thankful I was there to care for and love on that little girl.
My favorite experience so far happened the last time we were out in the village. I ran into this 17 year old man named Ron who I had met a few times before. We had become pretty good friends but I never actually got to know him until that moment. We started talking about life, jobs, and school. I soon found out that both his parents died when he was very young leaving his uncle to raise him and his 4 siblings. I’ve realized that this is quite common in this culture. Our conversation continued and we laughed and joked around about random things. Eventually Ron told me his dream was to become a teacher so he could give kids the opportunity to be successful. Even though we hung nets and educated many households on malaria my moment with Ron was my favorite. I got to form a relationship with someone and God used me to show His love towards this young man. That’s what it’s all about!
What have you learned?
Greg, Kellie and the Segner's love Texas, the Spurs, tons of places they claim are so much better than Ohio and especially Texas A&M.
Ok on a serious note I have learned that Malaria treatment and education is an incredibly vital need. As we have gone from house to house there have been maybe two houses where someone in the home understood that malaria is from the bite of a mosquito. Yet, every person with any type sickness, back pain, or cold assumes they have malaria because they don't know and understand the symptoms they should be looking for. This can all be taught in a short education session and the amount of gratitude from families is shocking. However, what actually makes Healing Faith so effective is the relationships they have built. They spent a year getting to know the community before we started any type of malaria prevention program. When we drive into the village there are children yelling Jason's name. When the malaria prevention program started it was never about how many nets we could hang in a day, but taking the time to get to know the people in the homes, educating them and really building relationships. There isn't a strict schedule and as we come upon situations and people, because the Segner's have relationships and a good understanding of the community they can make judgment calls, spend times with those who may be really hurting, and really invest in the lives of those they love. This makes them so much different then someone who walks into the lives of someone handing out nets they are truly getting to know and investing in the people around them.
Throughout my internship, I have learned that the education portion of the malaria program is huge! When we go house to house in Wakisi and begin the education process, the ﬁrst thing I always ask the people is, "Do you know what causes Malaria?" I've been here for almost six weeks now and I've only met two families who knew that Malaria was caused by a mosquito bite. Isn't that crazy? Malaria kills 600,000 children alone every year, but the people who are mostly affected by it don't even know the cause, signs, symptoms, or how to prevent it. So the education that Healing Faith provides is not only crucial, but could also be life saving.
I could go on for days about things I’ve learned. The first thing I would say is intentionality. Life here is very sneaky! What I mean by sneaky is that even though many of the “first world distractions” aren’t there you still have to be intentional. Whether it’s with your quiet time or with relationships or even just daily tasks. Time will just fly by without you knowing it! Another thing I learned is that people all over the world are still people. You’re probably like “well duh!!” but this is why. Even people in a Ugandan village still like to laugh, feel good about themselves, and to actually feel like they are wanted. Just like you and I. But most importantly, true happiness should never be based on your circumstances!
What kind of advice would you give future Healing Faith interns?
Be ready to leave pieces of your heart everywhere you go. Nothing is going to go exactly as you expect it to but it will all be worth it. Also Miriam knows everything if you have any questions from how to wash clothing, how to cook, how much something in the market should cost or what that weird plant is, Miriam knows!
BE FLEXIBLE! It sounds simple, but it's been one of the biggest adjustments I've had to make here. There is no typical day in Uganda or a set schedule. If there is a schedule, it will most likely change. Life here has taught me how to be comfortable with the unknown and to just go with the ﬂow. I say this because many plans made weeks in advance often change within hours before we leave. So just be ﬂexible with everything. Your time here in Uganda will be a lot more relaxing that way.
1. Don’t think you’re going to fix anything!
2. Rolexes will save your life!
3. Don’t leave your laundry out at night! Mango flies will lay eggs on them and when they hatch they will burrow into your skin and eventually you will have worms under your skin!