Going into this medical mission trip to Uganda, I did not know what to expect. I had been hungry to travel to Uganda for many years, and when my brother found FIMRC through a google search for medical mission trips to Africa, I knew the trip was meant to be as the registration was made easy and everything seemed to just fall into place. Ultimately, I knew that my mission was to serve God and to be His hands and feet wherever He needed me to be, but with all of my friends telling me that I was going to change the world, I thought that the difference I was going to make was going to be in the lives of the locals of rural Bududa District of Uganda. I quickly learned that I was not going to change Uganda, but that God was going to use Uganda and its people to change me.
We worked in a health clinic Monday through Thursday from 9:30am until the last patient was seen. At the clinic, we checked people in, took vitals, sat in on consultations, witnessed childbirth, worked in the lab, and helped out wherever we could.
For the first weekend, we travelled to Jinja for white water rafting on the Nile River and happened upon the Sole Hope guesthouse and shoe making workshops. I was introduced to Sole Hope on the Mission Trip that my brother and I took with our youth group in high school in 2013 and have thought about it ever since. Luckily, we were able to walk right into the front gate of their compound and get a tour from the guesthouse hostess. This was such an emotional experience that only God could have arranged; after collecting donations and supplies and hosting shoe cutting parties over the past 4 years for Sole Hope, I was finally able to see where the shoes are made in person and hold a pair of the finished shoes in her hands.
We packed as much as we could into our second and last full weekend in the area: eating dinner with one of the clinic volunteers at her house, administering deworming pills and vitamin A drops during an immunization outreach at a local school, hiking Sipi Falls, attending a protestant church with one of the clinic staff members, and getting to sit down with another staff member at her house as she taught us how the coffee beans are prepared to be roasted.
As a useful tip: do not pack your peanut butter in your carry-on - TSA will throw it away.