A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home Coming

I attended a conference for all Peace Corps Volunteers in Uganda last week. There were almost 130 of us all together for 5 days. It was a great time to meet all the volunteers and also to learn from one another. I left the conference excited about the possibilities. It was helpful to hear what volunteers are doing; how they started; how they failed; how they tried again, differently and succeeded. It was also comforting to hear how others are struggling with some of the same emotions I find myself dealing with: anger, spite, joy, excitement. It is always nice to know you are not the only one with extreme highs and lows when that was never your personality before.

I returned to site on Sunday and received such a warm welcome home I was humbled by the love my community has for me. My friend Felicia (Francie’s mom) met me on the road and took my heavy bag and escorted me home. I found out later she had walked into town 2 other times that day looking for me. It took us sometime to get home because everyone we passed wanted to welcome me home and hear about my trip. Everyone said, “Nalubega, you have been lost.” In Ugandan (referring to the whole country/culture) this means they haven’t seen you in a while. Many thought I had gone back to America and were so excited I was back.

The students I live with ran and met me at the gate. There was no time for a rest, they wanted to play. We had a week to catch up on. My nuns all greeted me with hugs and much exclamation at dinner that night. It is sometimes difficult to go back to Ugandan life when you have had a break and surrounded by other American’s. I love my life here but there is comfort and familiarity in being around those who come from a similar background. I came back to site with a little dread but upon getting back and received such a welcome home, I was touched and experienced a great sense of belonging. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

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