Uganda Last Day

I dreaded this day to come.  I have really enjoyed waking up each morning to see these women and learn more about them.  I left the house earlier to be able to be with them longer.  I’ve loved walking up to the workshop each morning and making the greeting call!

Over the last few days I noticed I had become more of a physical touch person as I’ve connected with these women.  I’m sure part of it is their culture but I don’t want to think that. I am choosing to think that physical touch comes natural to them therefore it made it natural to me.

I realized as I’ve analyzed my experience that once again I went into this experience with love and confidence and not fear. It was that love and open heart that allowed me to be raw and real and present with these women and touch and soothe their minds.

I wanted this day to last longer but we had to polish up the library to get it presentable to the community and so I had to step away from what I was feeling and put it on hold. I then came back and videoed two of the women and asked what gift I had given them.  Monica and Sherfia both expressed the gift of awareness to love themselves and to be more confident.

I was able to bring a few kitchen gadgets to help ease their preparation in the kitchen. I gathered tongs, vegetable peeler, and paring knives.  I presented it to them on this last day and you’d think they won a car or something.  Repeatedly they said over and over again, “thank you Sarah”  They were so appreciative just as they were with the skirts we gave them the first day.  I had to explain step by step how to use these tools because they had never seen one.

We also got Luta to share his talent of dancing with us.  We had learned throughout the week the Ugandan traditional dance move.  Which was basically shaking our hips a lot.  We wore the traditional attire and had straw and fur that excentuated our hip area to help us look like we were doing it right.  It was so fun to see the women’s reaction when they saw all of us “muzungu’s” come out and perform for them.

As we made preparations for the library grand opening the Musana women wanted to sing a song so they all gathered in the back area and started practicing.  I came around the corner and saw this beautiful scene of all the women circled around each other looking and singing to each other.  The sisterhood that they share is quite impeccable.

They lean on each other in the good times as well as the bad.  When Florenece was sick in the hospital they each took turns taking her meals.  Because hospitals here you have to take care of your own needs.  Or when Rosettes husband died she went right to her sisters at work for strength and support.

They are a Relief Society already. Building each other up and bearing one another’s burdens.  So as they sang together I just broke down in tears and Ruth couldn’t join them so I sat next to her and held her and just cried like a baby.

These women believe that I will go back home and never think of them again.  But little do they know that I have plans to remember their stories and I’m going to share them and hang their picture up next to my mirror to be reminded of my sacred time I spent with them.  I was made better because I was in their lives.  Even though it was for a very short time.

I choose to create whenever I make connections with people that I want to know that their life was made better because I was in it.  But this trip it was definitely the opposite.  Sure I hope they learned a few things from me but this experience has changed me.  It’s these experiences you wish you could bottle up and open the lid every one in a while and just take it in when you are bombarded with life.

I began to say my goodbyes and I was overwhelmed that they all gave me advice.  It was supposed to be the other way around.

I was a mess.  A crying mess.  We gathered in the car to depot and they began to sing us a song and I lost it even more!  I just kept staring at their smiles and sweet tender faces while my eyes were puffy, red and wet with tears and just smiled back and waved.  When I closed the door I just buried my head in my lap.  I was so overcome with emotion and had numerous flashbacks of the last week.  As we pulled away I just stared out the window and took it all in.  I saw life with new eyes.  I began to see that my service there was selfishly for me.  I was in a place to receive it. I wanted this moment to last to just feel and to process my experience.