Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I have had the opportunity to travel to Africa twice on ministry service trips in my college career. The first trip of three weeks in the summer of 2007 opened my eyes to the issues of world poverty. I witnessed amazing stories of people who overcome horrendous daily struggles that until that point I had not even realized had existed.
I returned this past summer for an entire month. I was able to travel not only to Kenya but to parts of Northern Uganda. Going into this trip I thought I knew what to expect and that I was prepared. After the first two weeks in Uganda, my spirit was broken. The situation in Northern Uganda with the past violence LRA and the existing threat plus the problems of extreme poverty was unsettling to me. The romantic and mysterious perspective of Africa that I had from the previous year was gone. I was overwhelmed by the great need for aid.
After processing, I have realized that there will most likely never come a day where not one man lives with AIDS, not one woman fights malaria, not one child starves. I can not save the world. But I must do what I can. I can show them compassion and love. I can have relationships with that one man, one woman, and one child. I can help to aid their community in whatever humanly way possible while remembering just as much as I can help them; they can do the same for me.
One thing that I have learned from my experiences in Africa is that I cannot be lost in all the struggles that I might face but I have to appreciate what I do have and live in the moment. I feel that America and the rest of the Western world has a lot to learn from people in less developed countries. Being a Peace Corps. Volunteer, not only would allow me to develop a better understand of myself in relation to the world but I would have stories to share with others. My first hand accounts could spark others to become active in some way just as I was inspired by a former volunteer. I want to look back on my life and know that I cared for people; that I used all my God given abilities to make a positive impact. Being a volunteer, would allow me the chance to make that impact while setting me up for a life of serving others.