What can I possibly say to summarize my last two months being part of The Recreation Project and living in a culture so different and new to me? Well, let me begin by saying that I have loved every moment of it, even the challenges!
I’d like to reflect on some of the highlights from my summer here in Gulu.
First of all I was welcomed in a way like never before. The staff, beneficiaries, the community, everyone welcomed me by showing me unexplainable hospitality.
There were also the groups I got to facilitate in the Forest. I certainly hit the ground running when I got here with a group my first day, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I have enjoyed more than anything being with our groups and watching them undergo change in the matter of our program. I loved all our groups, but working with the girls rescue home from Zion Project was one of my favorite memories. Those girls have come from backgrounds I cannot begin to comprehend and they choose daily to face the challenges that are presented to them with a confidence I have never seen in a child their age. They are resilient, energetic, fun, loving girls, and it was truly a life changing experience to work with them.
I too enjoyed the week we worked with rugby groups from different secondary schools around Gulu. I was challenged in that week by the differences from group to group. We had groups that were easier to work with and others who caused me to stumble as I facilitated because they were stubborn or couldn’t cooperate well together, but it was a growing and learning experience none the less.
And I cannot forget to mention my joy from working with the primary schools coaching softball and baseball. Watching those kids grow in the last two months has been a delight. The boys at Negri Primary blew my mind with how honestly great they were at baseball, but they continued to grow and learn. The boys and girls at Vienna Primary also were a great deal of joy as I watched them transitions from not knowing how to pick and put on gloves to swinging bats and playing the game. It has truly been a joy and blessing to have so many experiences with The Recreation Project. I cannot thank TRP enough for letting me come be a part of them for this short while and for those of you who continue to support the project.
Besides the groups I too fell in love with the people I had the opportunity to work with day to day. Like I have said before their hospitality is unexplainable and their friendship is true. I love facilitating with Charles, Irene, Josie, and Robert. I’ve loved seeing Ben’s heart and passion for this project and having time with his family. I too have loved coaching softball and baseball with Mike and Patrick. The staff, facilitators, and coaches connected with The Recreation Project don’t do what that they do because they need the job or want the fame of doing it, they really do it for the beneficiaries we work with, they do what they do to empower the youth of Uganda.
And to talk about what is next may be a bit premature, but I will be home and soon to start my final year of University. I plan to stay connected with TRP by starting our first campus chapter at my University. I will also be planning a new program that, when I graduate in May 2014, I will hopefully have the opportunity to come back to Gulu, Uganda and put into action. I have every God-given dream and desire to do overseas mission work and having the opportunities I have had here with TRP and in Gulu have done more than prepared me for my future.
So for now I say Wabinen, which in Acoli means see you next time.