Grasshoppers, Babies, and Joy

Categories: Intercultural Studies Blog, Student Stories, Uncategorized

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Sarah Rozendal is in Uganda on her third-year Intercultural Studies internship and she is learning a ton about the Ugandan people, drawing love and joy from God, and taking care of adorable orphanage babies. You can read her original post and follow along in her experiences at https://sarahrozendal.wordpress.com/ 

It has been awhile since my last blog post and a lot has happened! Here’s a quick update based on some observations that I’ve made about Uganda these past two and a half months:

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The month of November is grasshopper season. So naturally I had to eat one. Despite common belief, they do not taste like chicken, however the Ugandans love them!

The people here strive to keep their land very clean and take pride in it. Every morning I see people in the streets sweeping their sidewalks and their front yards. They are also very hard working, often having more than one job or working more than 40 hours a week. They also find creative ways to carry heavy things far distances, using numerous methods such as bikes and boda bodas, and then also on their heads.

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(Photo: Jessica Funk)

Family and community are very important here. To support one another and to remain in community is something that is highly valued. The homes in the Watoto villages are designed in clusters so that each cluster is in a circle. This helps to promote community among the different houses.

Some things that I’ve been learning about this past month are:

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Love. Before I came to Uganda I said that my purpose was to love while I am here. And with that is to learn how to better serve, listen, and support. I still see this as my purpose, however, I have needed to dive deeper into what that really looks like on a day to day basis because while working with babies is fun, it is also full of challenges.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
~1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

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Sometimes when I read this passage I’ll replace the word ‘love’ with ‘God’ because we are told that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). We are also told to try to be more like Jesus. I love this passage because it gives a beautiful and accurate picture of the God we serve. It also provides us with a guideline on how we can aim to live our lives. This greater understanding of love that 1 Corinthians provides us with has been a huge help in reminding me how I can, and should, daily love the people I am working with. Whether I focus on being patient that day or on choosing to not lose hope, I know that I am overall choosing to love. And while I am not perfect at it, God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

6 hour bus rides in 30 degree weather where there is no air conditioning and more people than there are seats is, to say the least, uncomfortable. However, the place that this long trip took us to is absolutely lovely: Gulu. Jess, Shayla, and I went to Gulu for a few days to visit another babies home within Watoto.

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A baboon we saw on the drive up

The Joy of the Lord is our strength. I’ve never fully understood this saying before, however, these past few weeks I’ve been feeling especially tired and dreading getting out of bed in the morning. I began asking God to provide me with the strength to make it through the day with a positive attitude. The days to follow proved to show God’s faithfulness as I started to find myself smiling for no reason while cleaning things such as dishes or windows. God has been filling my heart with joy for no particular reason and I love it. The joy that God has given me provides me with the strength I need to get up in the morning and to not just make it through the day, but to really enjoy it and to fully invest in it.

“Happiness is fleeting but joy is permanent”

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Update on the babies (!):

We have received a number of new babies over the past month of all different ages. They are adorable. We now have over 90 babies in the home here in Suubi. I think come January they are hoping to move a bunch of the big toddlers into their permanent homes in the Watoto villages, so that is exciting for them but sad for us as we say goodbye (we can totally visit so it’s not really goodbye!). I’m currently back in the Monkey Unit (small babies) which I’m very excited about!

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