Uganda 2016 – Just Look Around You
Any one that knows me knows I love to talk so I will tell you it has been a challenge not to ask Mark sooner if I could jump on the blog and offer an entry. I appreciate him sharing the space and I hope to use this as he would to tell you more about our team in Uganda.
This is my sixth overall mission and my fifth trip to Uganda. It’s pretty easy at this point to make the decision to go on this mission, but it seems after just a couple of days it has become almost too automatic to make the decision to come. I remember my very first trip when I asked a million questions. Some about the trip but mostly I wanted to understand why we were going. What was the need? Do they really want us to come? But this year I filled out my application, packed my bags early and got on the airplane without a second thought. It is what I have done the last four years so let’s go again. It didn’t take long to realize I lost sight of some things
Our team arrived on Sunday afternoon and after nearly 24 hours of travel started working just 20 minutes after they arrived at the hotel. It was later Sunday night after just a few hours at the hospital that I felt that I might have lost the understanding of what this and other missions are all about. Yes, I did just see all of this in February on the India Mission but things are busy and I guess I thought this was just another thing on the calendar to go do and I was wrong.
There are 62 other volunteers on this trip and there is no way I would tell any of them I have the best seat in the house and I had taken it all for granted. As photographer on a trip like this I get to see it all. Medical, art, clinic and fire teams all doing what they do and do so well. They are prepared beyond belief working through the heat, dealing with broken and rundown equipment, feeling under the weather and getting just a few hours of sleep each night but never saying they need a break or that they wish they could quit early just one day. All I had to do was just look around and I saw the need in the faces of the people of Uganda, I saw a caring in our volunteers that will motivate any one to want to do more and give more and I understood that I had foolishly taken for granted the rewards I would receive over the week of this mission. Our volunteers are so positive and ready to help, it is infectious. They look around them and they find a need and fulfill it. Someone needs something they handle it. They make it look so easy to help others.
Each day in the OR they post the schedule for each surgeon and there is a saying that accompanies it and on Tuesday it was a quote from William Arthur Ward, “ When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” We get so caught up in our everyday lives we forget to slow down and look around. I did and I saw people that I traveled half way around the world with that are teaching me that this trip is a gift, not just for the patients they working to heal but for those of us that get to watch them work. Each has brought out the best in the other and they are giving so much of themselves while they are here. I know not every friend, coworker or family member can be here to see what their loved one is doing but I will share with you that you would be busting with pride. You have an amazing person in your life and they will help bring out the best in all of us. I know those at home hope to catch a glimpse of their loved one in a photo in one of our posts and it is so hard to get an image of everyone out for people to see but I hope this blog will help you understand how significant each member is. I spend my entire day watching, listening and talking with the other volunteers and they are solid people making their work here look automatic and easy and making it all happen under the challenging of conditions.
The members of this mission team have chosen to travel to places like Uganda but you don’t have to make this type of journey to make a difference in someone’s life. Just look around you and you will soon see a chance to help in ways big or small. If you do what I have done and just look at those around you the best in you will soon come out.