Perspectives From First Time Volunteers – 2016 Trip

by admin on September 22, 2016

Stan’s Impressions:

I visited Africa with every intention of giving all that I have to make a big impact on the Nkungi village. Instead, I returned with Nkungi village having made a big impact on me. I met some of the poorest people I have ever seen. Yet these same people were also some of the happiest and most grateful. Random people on the road openly shared a greeting, a smile and a blessing. Strangers walking down the road would yell Jumbo (their word for hello) and wave.

Once, when I needed directions, I visited a shop owner. Instead of telling me where to go, he closed his shop and walked with me . We talked the whole way there. And he did this without any expectation of something in return. When visiting an elementary school, I was impressed by the 1,000+ children who all walked to be in school, grateful for the opportunity to learn.

The opportunity to work on improving the homes of those afflicted with Leprosy was also gratifying. A simple bookshelf or coat rack for someone who has felt the debilitating effect of this disease made a big impact. And their appreciation was openly shared.

I came back from Africa with far more blessings than I had expected. I will be going back!

Ellen’s Story:

Being a first time volunteer with AfricanSMILE and it being my first trip to Africa, I was initially quite anxious and concerned about going. However, I felt God calling me to go to Africa, and here I am.

The members of our team were welcomed by a lovely group of women and young men of the Matiliga group with music and dancing! These wonderful people chose to share their lives with a group of strangers yet they made each one of us feel at home. The women of this group weave baskets in all shapes and sizes, patterns and colors, to sell. They use this money to pay for their children and grandchildren’s school uniforms and their schooling. They were even open to sharing how they make these beautiful works of art. I tried my hand at weaving but didn’t even make a stitch that compared to those of these very talented ladies. The afternoon we spent with this group was such a blessing. I am looking forward to seeing them and dancing again soon. From that moment on, I knew I had made the right decision to come to Africa!

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