Uganda Dreaming: A Page from the Past

Name:Sean Devaney
Location:Nansana, Uganda
Aiming for: Bronze Award
About the Author:I travelled to Nansana in a nursing student capacity. I worked within the medical centre setting as well as in local schools and within community care. I am a regular volunteer locally and since my first international volunteering experience, I have developed a massive interest in third world countries. I hope to return to Uganda when I finish my degree.

Uganda Dreaming: A Page from the Past

This is an entry from my diary that I kept whilst in Uganda……….the reason behind the direction I chose to follow in my nursing career. I never would have found my way without the experiences overseas that I got to live, with the programme, staff and patients associated with Nurture Africa. It has entirely changed my life, for the best!

“I could see myself moving back here to work. The way of life here is less extravagant, for obvious reasons, yet slow and less stressful. A very laid back look on life! From the small things such as eye contact when conversing, shows the legitimate purity of the people here and how they genuinely want to know, how you are when they ask, ‘How are you?’ It’s endearing and quite sincere. Uganda now owns a piece of my heart! This experience has definitely made me question where I want to go within the nursing world. Getting the hands on experience, here, has been what I can only describe as ‘out of this world’, folding my previous thoughts up into an imaginary paper plane and shooting them into the abyss of my unconscious mind.”

The ‘less extravagant’ life I refer to in my diary entry, challenges our modern day world of materialism. Our ‘must haves’ such as the newest iPhone or range of clothing is merely a day dream to the people here, whereas their idea of a ‘must have’ is healthy children and food on the table at the end of any given day. As I reflect upon my preconceptions before I travelled to Africa, I can confirm they no longer exist! They are now replaced with memories of beaming smiles from people who do not possess much yet smile like they have the world. To be able to talk with these people, who wear their hearts on their sleeves and speak with lips that flood with words of wisdom, about their lives lived, was nothing short of breath-taking. Their tales of bravery, illness and poverty would bring tears to the numbest of people but are rich in essences of hope, determination and rejoice that sent shivers down my spine.

As I received tour after tour of local homes, I realised how ‘good’ we, the Western World, have it yet it’s not the Ugandan smile we wear, we do not wear our happiness of ‘having nothing’, but rather parade our new brand named clothes with ‘not a care in the world’. On return home from my experience of a lifetime, I cannot help but pine for my return to submersion in Nansana culture, the community warmth and to dress my ego in that Ugandan smile.

“A Nation’s Culture Resides In The Hearts And In The Soul Of Its People” – Mohandas Gandhi

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