"If someone had told me a year ago that I would consider an orphanage in Kajjansi, Uganda a home to me, I wouldn’t have believed them. Home is a place where you feel loved and welcomed and yourself. The people of Uganda, every member of Team 6, and of course the kids at SMK made the trip to Uganda the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. There are so many people I would like to thank, and my gratitude extends far beyond these words. I want to thank Melissa and all of Team 6. Without any of you, I would have been lost. Everything we experienced together whether it was sitting on Natalie’s lap in the crowded car in the insane streets of Kampala, or conversations at the lunch table, makes me think of you as family. I want my Dad to know how much I appreciate him, and many of the kids reminded me how great it is that I have a father who cares about so much. An excerpt from a love letter: 'You are so strong, blessed and I admire the way that your father loves you. In my life, I have never experienced such a love from my father. Always you have to thank God for your life and your parents lives too because it is incredible how they have taken care of you.' I would also like to thank Gloria. Even though she could not be on the trip with us this year, I know that she kept us in her heart. She has been such a good friend and neighbor to me ever since I was little.
A good friend I made at SMK named Joan asked me what message I would take away from this trip. I have spent a long time thinking about an answer for her, and I finally have one. I learned to be thankful for what I have. It is so easy to take the little things for granted, and that is something that I admire in all of these kids. They appreciate everything that they have, and I look up to them for that. It is easy for me to forget how lucky I am to not have to worry about who will pay for my education. I try to look forward to school now (even though it can be difficult sometimes) because I am so fortunate to be able to go to school every day, have my own textbooks, and simply learn. Education should not be something taken for granted, and that is the message I have taken from this life changing experience."