"Returning to Uganda for my 4th visit feels comfortable and familiar- I am returning to another home. Relationships that I made on my initial trips have grown and evolved over the years- they are now family. When I close my eyes, the sites, sounds, and smells of Kajjansi flood my senses. My stomach fills with excited butterflies eagerly anticipating seeing those beloved children at St. Mary Kevin- how much they have grown, matured, and learned since I last saw them in May.
This trip holds even more significance as I share this experience with my son, Antwain. He has been so supportive of 'sharing me' during previous trips. Antwain and my SMK friends have heard countless stories about one another. I will be overjoyed the day both of my worlds meld together. Antwain wants to make new friends, but he has no idea how many friends he is truly going to have.
Having Antwain with me this trip has inspired me to focus on family. In addition to facilitating large therapeutic groups and recreational activities at SMK, I would like to explore the family connections this trip with the children at SMK. Whether biological (brother or sister) or chosen (life long friend or kindred spirit) relationships, the children at SMK are bonded with one another. I would like to introduce simple projects as a means to highlight the significant support and comfort those relationships have been to the children.
It is so awesome that Team 3 is diverse in background, experiences, and age. I am equally thrilled to reconnect with CTT team veterans and welcome new CTT travelers. Along with my Antwain, it will be incredible to witness their initial Ugandan experience. My greatest hope is they will come to love Uganda as much as I already do."
"When my mom first told me I would go to Uganda with Change The Truth, I felt a little scared, cause I had a feeling that I was going to get sick. But my mom said that I will not get sick, so I won’t be worried as long as I am with her. She tells me about St. Mary Kevin a lot, and she said the kids want to meet me. Some of them have written me letters and made me a video. I’m excited about making friends and learning new stuff about Africa. I want to learn some new words in Luganda (cause speaking English is easy) and play drums with the big boys (cause drums are my favorite thing). I will work to help the grown ups with projects, but I also want to teach my friends to play tag, American football, and other games that I play at my school. My mom and I are excited to go to Africa in 2 months. I want to make a lot of new friends, not just a couple. I want to work hard at St. Mary Kevin, and I hope we are going to have fun."
[Melissa is a social worker at Operation Breakthrough, a daycare and family service center in the urban core of Kansas City, MO. Her job is to coordinate the School-age Program and Betsy’s Kids Program. Operation Breakthrough serves about 650 children (ages 6 weeks-17 years old) and offers before/after school care and holiday care for over 300 school-aged kids.]
[Antwain is 10 years old and a 5th grader at KIPP Endeavor Academy. He lives with his mom, Melissa, in Kansas City, MO. This will be Antwain’s first International trip.]