Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I've Changed

We've been in Uganda a little over 6 months and I have to now admit to myself that I've changed a little bit. I probably don't realize how much I've changed because I've adapted to where I live, and I'm still here. 

Please, friends and family in the US: don't think that I've changed so much that you can no longer relate to me! I'm 95% still the same girl! I can assure you, your friendship is still ultra important to me. 

But here are a few ways I've changed:

My definition of "trash" has completely changed. I cringe to think of all the things I used to throw away! My guards and/or housekeeper are more than happy to take used boxes, containers (like empty puffs containers), and ziplock baggies. I've learned to stop throwing things like this away, but I've still told Betty that she can take anything she wants out of our trash (that sounds so weird but she was happy I said that!). I never throw food away anymore unless it's actually spoiled. It's easy to find someone who wants it if we don't.

I've become more flexible. For instance, a power surge just caused my computer to shut off while I was writing this post and I lost a paragraph. I'm starting to get used to the fact that plans are often spoiled at the last minute by something totally unexpected. I don't really think I'll ever totally get used to that, but it's not as surprising as it once was.

My definition of "cheap" and "expensive" have changed. Every time I'm about to spend 10,000 shillings ($4.00) I think to myself "This is how much one of our guards makes a day, in a 12 hour shift." And we definitely pay our guards on the high end. And they work so very hard for their salary, and are very happy to receive it!!

There is no build up of clutter. Whenever a toy or an item of clothing is not being used regularly, I start to think to myself "Who can I give this to?" There's no reason for me to keep something around that we're not using when we're surrounded by people in need. I gave each of the guards a box of toys (they each have several children) at Christmas time and it felt great.

Friends become family. When your family is halfway around the world, you come to rely on your community the way you would your family. If your friend's water has been off for days, they all come over to take showers. If there is someone new, we all chip in to provide meals (meals are not as easy to come by here - no McDonalds around the corner). If there is anything to celebrate or mourn, we do it together, and return the favor later.

Change is hard. Even when it comes gradually. But I know God is changing me for the better while I am here. And even though it sometimes makes me sad, deep down, to think that I'm not the same, I really do hope that God continues to change me and make me more like him.

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