A week ago the USP team went to rural Kapchorwa, a town nestled in the foothills of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda. I went into the experience feeling dry and empty and left feeling full and so sad that I had to leave such a beautiful place. I honestly don’t know how to put into words the joys that I experienced while I was there, so I have compiled a list of both practical and emotional things that I learned. Here is what I have learned on rural homestays:
- Picking coffee is harder and dirtier than it looks, but it is also so much fun.
- Carrying 40 pounds of beans is much easier on your head. It is also humbling when you realize your 9-year-old niece can carry more than that. With no hands.
- Eating at 10 pm can become the norm. This is because it takes so long to cook the food, and leftovers aren’t really a thing since there is no refrigeration.
- Some of the wisest people you will ever meet are farmers and teachers. They taught me what patience looks like, how to be compassionate but not a pushover, how living the way Christ lived can be played out in small things, and so much more.
- It’s a lot harder to cook for a lot of people using 3 charcoal stoves, and it takes upwards of 10 hours.
- Sometimes you have to pick either your poop or your pee going into the latrine- you can’t have both.
- Rural doesn’t necessarily mean uneducated. Both of my parents had college educations, and all 9 of their children did as well.
- My mama really wanted me to get married to a Ugandan, to the point that we discussed it every night.
- Warm bucket baths on cool mountain nights are one of the best experiences ever.
- The stars in rural areas are indescribable.
- I have no idea what I want to do with my life.
- Good conversations over a cooking fire are something that is hard to find anywhere else.
- I love the rural life. It is a lot of hard work, and sometimes it can be tiring and feel like you aren’t getting what you need to get done, done, but there is nothing like it. the community of people that welcome you in, the family that you become a part of, the experiences that you have, whether it’s a conversation or picking beans; it’s all a part of something so sweetly simplistic that I was loathe to leave at the end of the week.
My trip to Kapchorwa was way too short but so rich and full of experiences, thoughts, and rest. I know that one week is not a long time, but it was a life-changing week in more ways than one, and I look forward to going home to my family there one day.