By Hunter Miller
What was your favorite moment of the whole trip?
I fell in love with a little girl named Gloria. Every single day in the vil- lage, sweet Gloria would find me. Her tiny hand would find mine and we would go about our day singing, dancing, and playing. For whatever rea- son, Gloria loved to make faces, so oftentimes I spent hours with her just sitting on my lap making faces at one another. One day she became very sick. I took her to be tested for malaria. She sat in my lap and cried. We pricked her finger and tears ran down her face, but she never let go of my hand. Sure enough she had malaria. Throughout the summer, Gloria had malaria three times. The day I left, Gloria gave me a kiss on the cheek and said “Nkwagala nyo,” which means “I love you” in Lugandan. This time it was me who cried. Over the summer, I whispered that to her so many times, but this time it just hit me. Sweet Gloria was a small face of Jesus to me this summer.
What was one of the instances that tested your faith the most?
I was holding a little girl named Patience, 2, who fell asleep in my arms. About 10 minutes later, she started to shake. I couldn’t wake her up, even when I poured water on her. I thought she died. She had been fine just minutes ago. I kept asking myself why I hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong. I prayed hard. Eventually she ended up waking up, but something still wasn’t right. She continued to pass out. That night, I lost it when I was on the phone with my parents. To make matters worse, this happened only a couple days after another child I was close with almost died from malaria. We were still unsure of his state. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t do more. My heart was so broken and people were just sitting there. Money clearly wasn’t fixing the problem; where were the people? I wanted God to fix it right then.
What was the most difficult aspect of being in Uganda?
It’s hard to watch a dad hit a child and for a whole room of people to just sit there. It’s confusing that some children just don’t go to school because they can’t afford tuition or shoes. It’s also really hard to be away from home. I missed my friends and my fam- ily. It was hard to be missing out on huge life events like engagements and weddings, and to only com- municate over texting and Skype when the Internet wanted to work. I wasn’t prepared for how hard com- ing home was going to be. I cried for days about how much I missed Uganda, and I didn’t think about how much I had changed while I was gone.
What did you learn through your internship that you think you couldn’t have learned by staying in the States?
I learned what it means to really love and how to let go. I think that a huge part of my summer was learning how to recklessly love people who I knew were possibly going to get sick and people who could never under- stand what I was really saying. My job was possibly to be the only person in their life who was never going to hurt them or ask them for anything, to just hold their hand and love them, and provide education and maybe some medication.
How do you think your internship helped guide you for the future?
This internship completely changed my life. I have al- ways had a passion for children, especially for those who have overcome difficult situations, but I had no idea that I would fall so completely in love with people and a culture. This internship taught me that my heart is completely in Uganda. I do truly believe that at some point in my life I will be teaching and living there full-time. I learned so much about what it means to actually live overseas; it’s nothing like a short-term trip. My internship answered so many questions that I had been asking God about and that will give me a much better understanding of what to expect as I make decisions about my future.