When I got my tattoo in February, I was a stern believer in hope. “Dwell in hope” on my wrist serves as a daily reminder — not only of my faith in the goodness of God and people around the world, but of the miraculous situations I’ve encountered and beautiful people and experiences that makeup my life and memories. I’ve seen some amazing things in 27 years. Miracles, some might even say, have happened seemingly right before my eyes. I’ve also been so blessed to be born into a fantastic family, have a solid group of friends, and unbelievable support system at every turn. But sitting here today amidst the hustle and bustle of Gulu town, I can easily say that my faith and hope in God and in the world is stronger than ever before.
Life in Gulu is not easy for most people. But life isn’t easy for the majority of the world’s population. The difference, it seems, is that despite the daily struggle for survival for some of my students, some of their families, or people I greet on the street, there is always hope. That same hope is lacking in America and in much of the western world. The passion for education and change in this beautiful country is mesmerizing. If I can be of some help and provide an opportunity for those who are desperately seeking a chance at a future they deserve, I will be able to breathe a little bit easier. But truth be told, I will never rest.
My dream may be huge and some people even believe, inconceivable, in Uganda. Educating as many youth as possible. Justice for the deaf and disabled. Equality for and empowerment of girls and women. Building a secondary school. Running a literacy and feeding program for street kids. “What’s the point? It’s too much. Where will you even begin?” I’ve heard it all; the doubters are many. But I am certain that this is my purpose. Each day, even despite frustrations, failures, and wrong turns, there is always hope and promise. Even if it is just in the innocent smile of a child.
We all have purpose. Where you are born should not determine whether you are able to live and achieve whatever that purpose may be. However, currently in our world there is a ridiculously strong presence of injustice. Our current population seem to react to injustice with even more violence and cruelty, as if that will help any situation. Gandhi told us, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” And that’s what I see today, nations of blind men trying to lead us into the future. It will never work.
So I beg you: choose peace. Choose hope. It is so real.
We currently have 15 students on partial or full academic scholarships throughout the country and another 30 or so who will be sitting for exams and applying to our scholarships for February. These children are not only the future for their families and for Uganda, but for the world. Whatever you can do, say, or sacrifice to help give them that gift, I ask you to consider doing so.
You all give me hope every single day and for that, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.