Jul 4, 2010

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I will be boarding a plane for the United States exactly three weeks from today. It is odd to feel like I am going home soon. I have mixed feelings about it.

I am excited. I have missed my friends and family so much. I studied abroad my junior year in college. I was away from home for much longer than 10 weeks, but being in Greece for a semester was an escape from my life in the US. But lets be real, I had nothing to escape from in the US this summer. I truly enjoyed my first year at the Clinton School and feel as though I have met some of my best friends. Who knew I would be excited to return to Little Rock, Arkansas?

I am anxious. For many reasons. I feel like I have been gone for ages. And that I have somehow changed. I have adjusted to Uganda. To Ugandans. To the people I work with and for. It is odd to think that I will have to adjust to my home and my family and best friends.  I am also anxious about my project. I worry that I haven't done enough or that it won't make an impact on this organization that has so much potential. I am sure it is due to fear of failure, but still.

I am sad. I am just starting to feel at home here and now I have to leave. Really. But I suppose most things work this way. You get really good at navigating campus and you graduate. You figure out how to be the best at your job and you are promoted. You realize the value in Social Change class and the semester is over.

I am sentimental. I have decided to make a conscious effort to appreciate the little things that I love about Kampala. The dried jonja (banana) chips. The lingering handshakes. The way they say I look "smart" instead of "nice" or "pretty". The misspelled words on signs that never fail to put a smile on my face. Ugandans' obsession with Obama. The fact that due to my skin tone and alien-like qualities I have the ability to put a smile on a child's face just by waving or saying hello.

I am hopeful. I will miss my access to prisons. They somehow make me hopeful. Hopeful that I have learned of possibilities in prisons. Hopeful for humankind because if mothers can raise children, if inmates can create beautiful things, and if prisoners can praise and preach inside of prison then those of us on the outside should be just as capable if not more.


  1. I love this as well. I also have a prize for you.

  2. It hurts to realize that all of our times abroad are coming to an end. What a passionate post!

  3. Julie - you have changed. And that beautiful light that rests inside of you has grown brighter. Can't wait to hear all about it. love this. miss you. -s

  4. Julie, I feel the same way about Peru and I studied abroad for 5 months my junior year. I know you are making a difference there. You shouldn't worry about that.

  5. Jules - I do not believe you have changed, not one bit. You have always shown the same qualities of compassion and giving throughout your life. Your adventure in Uganda, and this blog have simply given you an audience and opportunity to share these qualities.
    Don't you ever change.