Martina’s stay from February 27th to March 22nd, 2020
After a good month back home in Germany, I am so grateful for the short time I spent in Uganda. Many moments that I was able to experience in this great country will influence me throughout my life. Be it the realization how one can be so happy with so little material things. As well as that faith can give you so much strength. I’ll start from the beginning.
I left Nuremberg on February 27 with much anticipation and excitement. In the beginning, I was not so concerned with what to expect in such a foreign country. I only knew that I will not find the European luxury (full refrigerator, air conditioning, and co.). However, I was not aware that the people there wash everything by hand and that running water, which I received in my host family, is anything but a matter of course. The first few days, I was able to witness that by paying a three-digit amount of money, I was able to give an entire village the opportunity to receive clean water from a well.
At Uplift School, the students made me cry over a song. To see how happy the children are with a gummy bear or a smile from a „Mosungo“ (white person) was unimaginable for me. The tears I shed that day were not because I was homesick, no, on the contrary, I felt so sorry for these amazing people and wanted to help them! I know that through reports like this one, I have the possibility that you dear readers can imagine how simple the children live there. You can imagine the dormitory of the girls like a little dream in pink, with about 100 beds in one room. On each of them is a metal box with all the possessions of the students. Imagine you have only one suitcase in which everything you have is stored. I can’t imagine it. However, the children of Uplift are proud of it and guard the key of the box like a treasure. For my trip, I also brought some donations (clothes, toothbrushes, medicine, money, pens, yeast, etc.). A moving moment for me was when I saw a girl wearing the T-shirt of my deceased grandma. So I became aware that things which I no longer used in Germany have found a proud new owner there.
When teaching, most of the students are very eager and interested. Especially learning some German words was a lot of fun for the children. Even here the priorities of the children show, as the first German term they wanted to learn is: „Ich bin Hungrig“ (I am hungry). Especially the unexpected farewell to the almost 300 students was not easy. Because many of the young people did not understand the meaning of the President’s decision.
Besides the activities in the school of the U.V.C.O. Association, I supported Father Deus, Maggie’s brother. In the project „Universal Chastity Education“, he tries to educate children at different schools with the aim that they do not have sex before they leave school. The reason for this is that there is a lot of ignorance in Uganda about possible sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, the aim is to prevent girls in particular from becoming pregnant, as otherwise they would have to drop out of school prematurely. The interesting thing was that I was able to visit many different schools in a short period of time. There were very poor schools as well as very well developed schools on the program. We also visited Islamic schools where the girls wear headscarves. During the trips between the schools, I also saw a lot of the country and the living conditions of the people. I particularly remember the children playing barefoot on the side of the road and the waving, smiling faces.
I would also like to say a few words about my host family. Especially the host parents Maggie and Charles always had an open ear for me and treated me like a daughter. Through them I also had the opportunity to experience some traditional celebrations (church services, engagement parties, birthdays, etc.). Especially for this I would like to thank them again.
After this too short time, however, the country and the people there have grown so close to my heart that I think of them every day and still have close contact with many people from that time. The stay has opened my eyes to the fact that the wealth in Germany is anything but self-evident and we should appreciate it. However, we should learn to share. This is a matter of course for the so poor children in Uganda, because how can a person be happy when he knows that so many others are starving?
I am aware that I or even each one of you cannot change the world, but each one of you can positively change the world of a single person…