I found the people of Uganda to be very welcoming. The standard greeting is “you are most welcome”, and right away I had a sense of belonging in any place I walked into. The people were also very eager to incorporate me into what they were doing, they didn’t want me to just complete tasks, but they wanted me to just be part of everyday life. Oftentimes, our projects can turn into never ended boxes to check and lists to complete. We can lose our vision by being more concerned about the thing we’re doing than the people we’re meant to empower. I was reminded many times that it’s more important to focus on relationships. Each person has value and they’re worth investing into, they’re worth getting to tell their story, they’re worth getting the opportunity to create change for themselves. Infrastructure and money, though helpful, can only go so far; it’s the people who are at the center and carry the heart of what we do. At the end of the day, people need to be the why behind the what.

~Sara Schaffner