As we sped through the abandoned streets of late night Entebbe all was quiet. We unloaded our bags and settled into our guest rooms under the light of a single, bare fluorescent bulb as geckos harvested insects from the plaster expanse of ceiling. My first few hours in Uganda had revealed little. As I drifted off to sleep Africa was still a dark and blurry shape tainted by stories of genocide and disease.
Dawn, however, greeted me with a spectacular explosion of purples, pinks and greens. A refreshingly cool breeze blew from Lake Victoria as buzzing motorbikes, children, roosters, goats and taxis filled the air with sound. I had never seen a place that was more living, more moving.
And so began our week. A whirlwind tour of faces and places. Music, smiles, friendly greetings and gentle handshakes greeted us everywhere. Crisp white shirts and creased dress slacks emerged from mud huts as leaves and debris where quickly brushed from humble lawns each morning.
But underneath the warm optimism and organic order was the quiet desperation of a people who had not forgotten their harrowed past. Who still labored under the burden of poverty. Who still desperately hoped for something better. The feeling of need was as penetrating as the tropical sun. Eyes dimmed ever so slightly as the realization came over our hosts that we could not help everyone, that our resources were limited.
The more we traveled the mud roads and rutted highways the more the magnitude of the situation settled in. The Kirabo Foundation currently sponsors around forty students. In a country with 1.7 million orphans, we help .0000235% of them. I was overwhelmed.
As the week went on, however, I experienced a paradigm shift. The ocean of need that initially dwarfed our efforts began to magnify them. Sure, we may not singlehandedly change Uganda. But we are changing Ugandan lives. We are replacing desperation with hope, futility with opportunity.
Browse our site, watch our videos. Look into the eyes of our kids. Hear their stories, share their joy, feel their pain. Be overwhelmed. In the end you won’t be able to change the world either. But you can change theirs.