It's funny. It's funny how low expectations can turn into something amazing.
This week we traveled 4 hours away from Kampala to the village of Rakai. Rakai is where the AIDS epidemic is most apparent with many child-headed families, widowers, and guardians taking care of children other than theirs. This village is in much need to say the least. Our purpose of traveling to Rakai was to build a house for a widower taking care of 2 children of her own and 2 of her sisters children staying in an insanely tiny shack.
I knew i was traveling to Rakai for a good reason, to build a house for someone who is in desperate need of one. However, i came into the week with the outlook of just getting through the next day. The idea of sharing a mattress on the floor and no running water just did not seem appealing.
We began the first day of construction and my team was on "pole duty." Now, when i thought of poles my mind jumped to small, light, and long poles. However, as we walked about a mile from the construction site, i soon realized i was being led into a forest, not a place to buy poles. I was handed a machete by one of the Ugandans on our team, but as our group of 4 girls soon realized, chopping down huge trees with a machete wasn't exactly our forte (however, be proud to know that the next day i managed to cut through a tree with a machete and i have a huge blister to prove it :) ) So our job instead was to carry the "poles" a half a mile up to the road where a truck was coming to pick them up. The day began with a rough start and ended with a rough ending as i realized that i was covered with dirt and was living for 6 nights without running water. Let me tell you, bucket showers just aren't the same. haha
However, the funny thing about my first day was that besides the fact that i was still covered in dirt. I did not care. We spent all of our nights before bed outside and looking up at the stars in a village with hardly any electricity was one of the most beautiful things ever. Every star was perfectly seen.
The next day i began with a different attitude. That this house was giving this woman and her family hope. Everyone else in the village knows nothing else than no running water, and i had the privilege of having a mattress to sleep on. These people did not. Who am i to complain? That day was wonderful. Every time i thought i couldn't carry another brick and child from the village would come beside me to help me. Every time i began to think how long the day was seeming and how tired i was, singing Disney songs at my top of our lungs while carrying bricks or mortar lifted my spirit. Every time i looked down at my arms and hands and saw all the callouses, blisters, and scratches, i looked over at the children surrounding us and saw they had much worse. My outlook: I could get through the day and i was blessed to be a part of the experience.
The last day on site was by far the most special. Near the end of the day, a few of us decided to hike up a huge hill near the construction site. At the end of the climb i witnessed one of the most beautiful site ever. Rolling hills, green every where, and being so high up in the air that i could barely even see the house we were building. Beautiful. It was one of those moments when you realize that this could be a tourist site, however, i was in the middle of nowhere with only a handful of people standing on top of the hill looking down on God's beautiful creation. To say i was in awe would be a understatement. The day ended with everyone surrounded in a circle near the completed house. The woman who we built the house for walked to the center of the circle and got down on our knees and began to thank us for all of our work. Her new house restored hope.
I am back in Kampala humbled. Humbled that i could be part of such an experience. That God was in the midst of it all. That God could take my low expectations and turn the week into something beautiful. I love others because i am overwhelmed with the love of Jesus Christ and i am grateful that i could part of this experience that brought hope to the village of Rakai.
"Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like You have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything i am for your kingdom's cause." -Hillsong