"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Thursday, August 25, 2011

guest post by melissa mosher

"Happy One Year to Us!

This past week I have been shaking my head in constant amazement that one year has passed since our arrival to Uganda. One whole year… 12 full months... 2 rainy seasons… 3 school terms. This move to Uganda was the largest leap of faith that I have ever taken, but the rewards have been beyond measure.

Recently there have been reminders about how settled Antwain and I have become in our lives in Uganda. Visitors have literally thought Antwain was Ugandan as his accent and mannerisms have assimilated so much to Ugandan ways. And I have received many compliments from adults and children about being a ‘real African woman. ‘ When we moved here, I wanted to live as simplistically as possible. I chose to wash my own clothes, mop my own floors, prepare my own meals integrating as many Ugandan local dishes as possible, and navigate public transportation. This was my conscious choice, and there have been times when it has been challenging, frustrating, and tiresome.

But one year later, there are a lot of fruits from that labor. On most days, I efficiently run my own household. I can wash some pretty ridiculous things, even heavy towels and blankets. I can prepare almost all of the Ugandan dishes (although there is still a lot more for me to learn). There are becoming fewer and fewer places/areas within Kampala that I have not visited. I have had the opportunity to travel to see the beautiful splendor of other parts of Uganda. I have learned the dance of bartering with market vendors or boda drivers and get amused when Ugandans recognize that I am a knowledgeable muzungu (white person). But admittedly, my Luganda is still very poor (although Antwain is almost fluent in his understanding).

For Antwain it has been a year for him to blossom. I continue to be amazed by Antwain every single day. He has grown taller and matured physically. But it has been the changes in his character, confidence in his academic performances, and the displays of profound friendship that have really transformed Antwain. He has been happier, healthier, and freer than I have ever seen him before. He has also displayed incredible patience and generosity with our enlarged household. Although Antwain still misses the conveniences of America, I can see that he now harbors a greater appreciation for them. It is still uncertain how this experience living in Uganda will shape the young man he is becoming, but I will never regret bringing him here to Uganda during such formable years.

And SMK…a place that I fell in love with back in 2007 still holds a cherished place in my heart. I still have moments (even after a whole year), where I will literally stop, look around, and revel in being at SMK. It still feels incredible to be living this dream! I continue to hold the utmost respect for the daily mission and dedication of Rosemary Kavulu and the entire staff at SMK. I am awed by the incredible support that Rosemary has had throughout the years from her husband, Joseph, and her children. In addition, it has been inspiring to witness the collaborative efforts of so many ‘friends’ of the orphans, like Change The Truth, Touch The World, Kyklou, and a few others who collaboratively are making some significant improvements to otherwise forgotten orphans. I wholeheartedly believe that it does take a village to raise a child here in Africa, and for me, it will be one of the greatest honors of my life to know that I was gifted with the opportunity to be a part of that village.

I am also reminded daily that I would not have the strength or endurance to be living my dreams in Uganda without the unconditional love and support of my family and friends. It is because I am so loved that I can love others. It is because I have champions in my corner that I can be champion for others. I will forever be appreciative for the selflessness of my loved ones who have endured long gaps in communication, a 9 hour time difference, a prolonged visit home, missed holidays and family celebrations, and additional obligations on my behalf.

There is still another year ahead of us. The journey is not over. There is still so much more that I want to experience and learn from Uganda. And remember there is always an open invitation to come and visit!"

- Melissa

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