Three high school students, three college students, and three adults chose to travel from Minneapolis, Minnesota through Amsterdam and then on to Busana, Uganda as a team. Each member was sent out by International Messengers (a mission organization), had a vision to help the people of Busana and love on them by running a medical camp, a VBS, and a computer camp while telling others the gospel of Christ.
During our stay in the little village of Busana my team would enjoy sitting on the front steps of the bright orange walled hotel we were staying at and watch the daily life of Uganda pass us by. There would also be mass amounts of children swarming around you. All of them staring at you with big eyes and interacting with you in various ways. Some giggle when you look at them and look down at the ground as if they did something wrong, some stare with stoic expressions, and some of the children sit down next to you at least a foot away as they are too scared to get any closer. The daring children would come right up to you and stroke your hair, touch your skin, or hold your hand.
One particular evening, we had just arrived in Busana and it was the first time the team sat on the steps. Everything we saw was new to us. Naturally, we were entranced by our surroundings. In a matter of moments, rain clouds had moved into our area. Suddenly it started to downpour. Within seconds a small stream was made that ran along the middle of the red dirt path right next to the steps. Most of the Ugandans had taken refuge in their homes or in shops up on the road. About a dozen children chose to stay outside with us underneath the overhang of the hotel and they soon would discover how crazy muzungus (Ugandan for white people) could be in the rain. Half of our team ventured out, chasing each other and jumping in puddles. The children’s faces lit up with delight. Ugandans do not do things like that and they were immediately entertained by our strange behavior. The children didn’t realize they would eventually be a part of the fun too. The few adventurous people on our team that had gone out and started playing in the rain decided that the others needed to get a little wet too. Collecting water in their hands by placing them underneath the overhang edge, they began to throw water at the dry members of the team. Of course retaliation was called for between the formerly dry and the soaking wet team mates. Meanwhile, the children were pointing and laughing at our foolishness. We decided that it was time for the onlookers to join our water fight by pouring water on top of their tiny, bald heads and flicking water from our wet hands onto their small bodies. Now the fun had really started. Children were laughing and showing their bright smiles. Absolute joy was shining through their eyes. Whenever a child was being ‘attacked’ by us the rest of the children would all point and squeal at them. Some tried to run away, but weren’t fast enough. They eventually got the same treatment as the rest of their friends, beaming the whole time.
So what makes this an unordinary experience? It was a moment in time when our stresses, anxieties, and worries were erased completely, when we escaped into the rain and immersed ourselves with the joy of the Ugandan children. We were bathed in Ugandan joy.
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