I visited Uganda in June this past summer. On the flight over, I felt excited to see the people and places my mom had talked about, but also very nervous about being in a completely new and different environment. I quickly learned that I had nothing to be worried about.
My friends and I spent a week working at the Broader Vision School. From the moment we arrived at the school, the teachers and students welcomed us. Of course, the students were a delight to work with and so much fun, but the teachers were the ones who really made my time in Uganda memorable. I’ve never felt more instantly welcomed and a part of a group.
After seeing the school for the first time, the entire school welcomed us with an assembly of songs and performances from every class. Throughout the week, they continuously told us how happy they were that we were not only at their school, but that we came to Uganda at all.
I was continuously struck by their curiosity of our world, and gratitude for the small amount of donations we were able to bring. Presenting the teachers with just a few bags of school supplies and a couple storybooks was an incredibly special experience to share. The teachers, literally, leapt, cheered, and sang for joy over things that I have practically unlimited access to (markers, glue, paper, small toys).
Throughout our entire time with them, they made us feel like we were a part of their community and shared with us their pride for their community. For example, our driver, Charles, went out of his way to purchase a local food item to share with us each day over tea. I learned from these teachers, how to be a gracious host. I can only hope that I am able to make my guests, friends, family, and strangers feel as welcomed and appreciated as they did for me.
– Erin Cammarata