It is almost impossible to describe this experience in words- and even the pictures cannot fully bring to life the magical world of Uganda.

After hours of travel, the team finally made it to Kaihura and we were warmly welcomed at Bringing Hope to the Family. As a newcomer, I had certain ideas of what to expect with regard to the “amenities” but I wasn’t quite prepared for the immediate outpouring of love and pleasure as a result of our arrival.

One of the best parts of this trip was walking the kids to school every morning. We began our first full day getting up bright and early to walk Esther, Joann, Christine, Liz and the little ones from the Home Again orphanage to school. A true highlight and each child is truly a small gift from God. As we moved through the week, my heart was lifted each and every morning when the little ones ran to us with joyous looks on their faces. In particular, my heart melted when a little boy named James would kick up dust running into my arms before we walked hand-in-hand to school.

As the days progressed, we were blessed to visit a small surrounding village to hang mosquito nets. These amazing people welcomed us into their homes, ever appreciative of the help we wanted to provide. Even though they had very little, they would give us a bundle of onions or eggs in thanks. Together, we prayed for their health, their loved ones, and ultimately their hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. Through their faith in Jesus, and a purity of spirit, they weather the toughest of storms and can still express love and gratitude in a way I have never experienced back home.

The following days were a blur of activity which included painting Faith’s mother’s church as they prepared for the Pastor’s conference, and building a saloon (our version of a hair salon/spa) for the women to create and sustain income. We learned while here that there is great opportunity for income for the village if they can rent out wedding dresses. Our goal when we get back to the States is to gather as many wedding dresses as we can and send them back with a group of nurses headed here in September. Laine learned about the history and dreams from the boys at the farm bonding in true man fashion – volleyball, ultimate frisbee and competitive games of spoons.

The night before we left, Dannell and I spent time with the older girls at Dorcas. We shared with them our stories and were asked a lot of questions about our lives as women in the United States. Unlike the experience Laine had in Kyongera, the girls were not comfortable sharing their stories in a large group. Instead, girls would pull us aside individually to talk about history. Sadly, they don’t let themselves dream too big. Just the idea of getting an education is enough to make them continue to hope. But as is true with anyone, no matter where they live, they just wanted to be heard and know someone cares.

Each night we closed learning about the way God touched our lives and spoke to us through the people of Uganda.

As I write this, it is hard not to think of the overwhelming needs here and how to best help. Their needs are great, from the simple ones like food and shoes, to supporting the schools and building the medical clinic. Though the girls here don’t feel like they have permission to dream big, that won’t stop me from dreaming big on their behalf.