Amidst all the desperation and struggling living conditions, there is a thread of hope, by Claire Meade
all smiley with my buddies
“I was humbled by the villagers’ willingness to welcome us into their homes and into their lives, even if just for a moment. ” –Claire Meade, TX, USA- (URF volunteer during July, 2011)
An account of Claire’s time in rural Uganda with URF:
Though it was too short, my time with the Uganda Rural Fund in Southwestern Uganda was an incredibly enriching experience that will have a lasting impact on my entire life. The prospect of traveling by myself to a foreign continent was a bit intimidating at first, but John Mary was very helpful in preparing me for the journey, and the staff that met me when I arrived were nothing short of welcoming and kind-hearted. The housing arrangements were comfortable, and it was a joy to get to live alongside Ugandan people, as well as other international volunteers.
Claire at a child-headed family home
Each day was different when I was there. New needs were always presenting themselves in the villages that the URF serves, and thus there was a consistent flow of projects to tackle. As a volunteer you must be willing to seek out opportunities to serve but the staff was extremely helpful in doing so. It was hard work but also a lot of fun! We did many projects with the child-headed families- anything from gardening to fetching water. We also often traveled into the more rural areas to build “drying stands” which are used to help with the process of dishwashing. I was humbled by the villagers’ willingness to welcome us into their homes and into their lives, even if just for a moment. I was amazed by the way we used the resources of the Earth to build useful things. It may seem simple, but it truly did change my perspective of the world.
Surely, there is a vast amount of need in Uganda. Most of the beautiful people I met live on less than $1 a day, and that kind of widespread poverty comes with many challenges. But amidst all the desperation and struggling living conditions, there is a thread of hope. The Uganda Rural Fund is clearly directly connected to the people it aims to serve. The staff at the URF listen to requests and do their best to help the villagers use their resources to attain a richer quality of lives. The Hope Academy provides an education (a vital bridge to opportunity) to over 150 students.
It was inspiring to witness and I hope I never forget the people I met or the lessons I learnt in Uganda gave me. I can’t wait to return!
building drying stand in the village
One of my cute buddies
some kids I worked with in the village
a lovely family I met
One of Hope Academy students