Five days ago feels like an eternity away -- that dirt-floored and fabric-doored house is cultures and ions away from where I sit now. A carpeted airport with Iphones, laptops and refrigerated show-cased food are all within my arms reach. But in my mind, I'm walking through the slum-- a word my friend, Moussa, snubs at. There are seven of us on a Sunday morning following each other through the tightly packed "houses" made of tin, mud and fabrics. We pass a large group of men playing a board game that reminds me of Parchesi. They make bets. "Hello," one calls at me. And then another chimes in. "Hello. Mzungu. Hey. Hello." I keep walking, pretending their stares and words do nothing to me. Moussa turns around and smiles at me. He puts his arm around my shoulder and points at several freshly chopped fish heads on a makeshift counter to my left. "Are you hungry?" he laughs. I'm thankful he's smiling. I'm thankful his skin is the same color as the men playing
Parchesi. I'm thankful he's looking out for me.
My time in Kampala, Uganda has been a wonderful and life-changing experience. I am so grateful to Ivan and his family for letting me stay with them for one month. I went to the Uganda youth soccer academy on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and then the rest of the time we are either at the slum or spending time in Kampala. I am so blessed that God has provided me with enough money to come to Uganda. I felt God calling me to go on this trip because I have a passion for kids and soccer. The soccer academy is a lot of fun for me, because I am teaching some of the kids the fundamentals of soccer as well as a few tricks that they can practice and someday use. The academy is a great program because it teaches kids about life and soccer. It's also neat because some of the boys end up playing professionally. The time I spend at the slum is so amazing because God is shining through those kids and you can see it on their smiling faces. When were there we teach them the basics like the ABC's, some easy math, as well as share some bible stories. It's an amazing experience, so I ask you to please consider volunteering even if it's just for a week, you will never be the same. If you can't volunteer please consider sponsoring a child, and give at least one of these kids some hope for the future.
God has blessed my family with enough money to be able to invest in the life of Asha, an 11 year old orphan, and I had the opportunity to travel to Uganda and meet her.I went as a volunteer with UYSA for one month. During this time I stayed with the family of Ivan Kakembo, who arranged everything (transportation, food, laundry, etc.). It was such an amazing experience to be able to live in a whole different culture. A culture where I have heard stories about and seen pictures of, but actually experiencing it first-hand had a whole new impact on my life.I decided to go to Uganda not only to meet the precious girl who has now become a part of my family, but also to make a difference to some of the other children who live in the slum. But the truth is, these children had just as much of an impact on my life as I did on theirs. Just being there with the children and showing them love meant the world to them. They had so little, but they were still so full of joy. I am thankful for this opportunity I had to spend a month of my life with these children and I hope to be able to go back and visit all the friends I made there. -Jamie Ray