On June 25th, I did not wake up to presents and a homecooked breakfast. Instead, i woke up, put on a pair of work jeans, a somewhat "clean" tshirt, I put my unwashed hair back in a headband, and i made the same piece of toast i always do. I knew that instead of eating at a nice restaurant, i would end up eating rice for lunch outside on the dirty ground with children with malnutritioned bellies. But, this is what i wanted. I woke up with one intention, TO serve and not BE served. I prayed to be humbled and to have a birthday that was not all about me.
I walked outside with my piece of toast and my bible in hand ready to read it as I do every morning. I sat down only to find i had sat in a big glob of ketchup from the night before. Here is when my humbling day began.
I started off by going to the village of Zirobwe, the future site of the Empower A Child training center. I began the day weeding a field of corn for 3 hours (something i never imagined doing on my 20th birthday.) The day continued by bringin a torential downpour to the village followed by my (ironically) fetching water from the well in jerry cans (much harder than it seems.) Since we had more work in Zirobwe than planned, we left 3 hours after intended. After returning to Kampala, I went inside to take a shower only to find no running water. I checked the internet only to find no connection which meant no contact with any family or friends on my birthday. I ended the night in a shopping center food court eating pizza. Everyone insisted i order icecream, only to find that after waiting 30 minutes, there was none left.
Looking back it was one of those days where i can't help but laugh. Sitting in a shopping center food court wearing dirty clothes, sweaty after a long days work, with muddy chacos and unwashed hair was not exactly how i pictured the end of my birthday, but i wouldn't have it any other way.
I prayed to be humbled. I ended up having the MOST trying, patience testing, humbling day ive had since I have been here.
I can only imagine what my birthday would have looked like if i would have spent it in the states. It would for sure have been a lot different. After all, isnt a birthday supposed to be all about you right?
I can only imagine how those here in poverty spend their birthdays. Probably similar to mine: doing chores that needed to get done, fetching water..no internet, no running water. Some don't even know when their birthday is. Maybe it is just Westernized culture that had taught me to think otherwise.
I kept replaying the verse in my head all day from Phillippians 2:5-8. "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God did not consider equality something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obidient to death- even death on a cross."
I know i say a lot that i am often so humbled, but I believe that it is God slowly chipping away at my heart and my pride revealing something that I hope is a little more like Him each and every day. I am emensly grateful that i could spend a birthday in Africa and in one day i could learn more than i ever thought possible.