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What Consumes My Thoughts

poverty uganda

My wife would absolutely love to know the inner workings of my brain. In fact, I’m quite sure numerous people would. It’s always been extremely difficult to read me and figure out what I just may be thinking. Now, add in my trip to Uganda in January 2010. I think some things get more clearly defined and others get even more obfuscated.

The one thing that seems to hold a constant place in my mind is the people of Uganda. The images that I saw driving through that country. The people that I met. The video reel that plays over and over of driving through villages, staring at small mud huts with grass roofs. Realizing those are their houses. Dirt floors, zero amenities. Multiple children, old, tattered clothes. No shoes. Almost nothing to eat. No (paying) work.

What kind of life is that? Can you even call it a life? How do you wake up in the morning and realize you have nothing. You struggle to feed your children. You know they are in danger from drinking the water you are giving them, but it’s all you have. What do you hope for? What would change your life? What would give you hope? What do you want for your children?

These are the things that boggle my mind. The images, the questions that constantly cycle through my head. And the thoughts of  what I have here in the US. What we have. We so often judge our lives on what we don’t have. But I have a home. A safe home. With running water, electricity, hardwood floors, carpeting, multiple rooms, filled with toys for the kids. My children go to school. I have no worries about whether or not they will eat today. Or if they will contract a deadly bacteria or parasite from the water I give them.

I overhear conversations where people talk about  things they want. I talk about things I want. I get pulled back to those images. How can I have so much and they have nothing? How can we help grow their economy so that they, too, can have a prosperous life. Why don’t we as a country give more? Why don’t I give more? How can I spend a single dollar on myself knowing that they are hungry.  I don’t want them to live without hope.

I struggle every day with these thoughts. It’s a good struggle. It keeps me focused. I hope you struggle, too.

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