During my first week in Uganda, I have experienced jet lag, illness, cutting my hand, sunburn (Bryce, I did not heed your warning), power outages and cold showers. Needless to say, I was a little down.
That all changed this morning when I attended my first, and definitely not my last, Ugandan church service. When the choir got up to sing, I was not prepared for what was coming. The audience could see the passion and love these individuals had for the Lord Jesus and worship. As the choir sang, they danced and clapped; it took this Southern Baptist girl out of her comfort zone. But by the end of the service, I was tapping my foot and clapping along. The sermon was preached in English and translated into Luo. The topic discussed this morning was the responsibility church members have to bring new people to church. Toward the end, we prayed over the students heading back to school next week. I had the privilege to pray with a young lady. After this service, my spirit was uplifted, and I am prepared to take on the coming week!
I want to describe Uganda for my family and you all. However, this is a place you have to experience. Pictures and words are not enough. Just imagine the Lion King times one hundred and add in a few sunflower fields (I will try to paint a picture of Uganda in the coming posts). The landscape and wildlife are pretty amazing. Nonetheless, they do not hold a candle to the local people. For instance, I participated in a loan and saving training in the Apac District. Around 40 men, women and children attended. We were greeted with song, dance, handshakes and warm smiles. Every person I have met has been welcoming and loving. I am very thankful they have welcomed me into their home for the next two months.
During the first day of the village savings and loans training, I had the privilege of meeting women from the Apac District.
This paragraph is for my mother. She was a little concerned about her little girl jetting off to Africa. My cousin, Logan, suggested taking a picture every so often of me holding a sign that says "Mom, I'm fine!" So, mom I am doing good! Try not to worry too much!
I took my first "Mom, I'm fine!" photo at the Barlonyo school's garden.
This is my first international trip, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Before I left I was plagued with many questions: Is this the path God has for me? Will I be able to help? Am I only packing three pairs of shoes? As soon as my feet touched land here in Uganda, I knew this was the path God wanted me to take.
I am very excited to see what the next 49 days has in store because the first six have been amazing! Stay tuned!
LaNese Mahan is a 2017 MIAP-Noble Fellow serving in agricultural development roles in Uganda. Mahan is from Sheridan, Arkansas, and is a student in the Master of International Agriculture Program at Oklahoma State University, where she focuses on education and sustainability. This fellowship is sponsored in part by the Noble Research Institute.