It's one thing to look at a picture, or hear a story. You're able to connect, at least on some level, with your senses. Whether it be your eyes seeing something beyond comprehension, or your hand touching something unfamiliar, or uncomfortable. However, the remarkable happens... when one is able to fully engage in something with all five of their senses. As lori said, Africa is a place where one can engage life with all five of their senses. And this was Africa to me. My senses were on overload, if you will. I saw things I never imagined, I felt the tiny hands of a baby orphan and had the tears of a widowed woman dying of AIDS fall down my neck... I tasted the culture and enjoyed the hospitality of a beautiful people, I smelled differences in appearance and in hygene and heard the laughter of contentment, the voices of children singing, "wel-o-come to our visitors..." and I was captivated.
To be perfectly honest... I do not easily adapt. Though raised in a family that traveled... I think that change is something I have grown to dislike. =) On each of my previous trips, I had a moment of intense culture shock in which I adamantly longed to find myself in the conforts of home. However, this was not the case in Uganda. I felt safe, comfortable, and content. I loved the dirt, the chaos, the bright colors, and curious glances. I loved the dancing, the hugging, the immense joy that exuded from even the loneliest of souls. I treasured the prayers, and was amazed at the talent... and was so broken to leave. Though happy to be home... a piece of me truly was left in the little village of Iganga and with the people of Wiraika.
As I settle into reverse culture shock, I am amazed that it was all real. It already appears as a snapshot in my mind. I write this to say that this trip is not over. I cannot stay silent about the things I have seen, what I have heard, the strange things I smelled, the tastes of africa that are still left in my mouth, and the touch of the widows and orphans.... and so I remind you... that religion that is pure... is to visit widows and orphans (James 1:27). Do not miss out on it! =)
I cannot go back to who I was before this trip... as that perspective has been shattered. So gear up... i've got something to say... and I won't stop sharing. =)