It is a week now, for me to be back in Poland in the new-old scenery of life, but all the time as the time passes by, and the days are running so fast, the thoughts are still going back, as if trying to see or to find somewhere the days which were so much filled with joy and happiness, the days we spent in Africa, and most especially at CALM – Namugongo (Uganda). This is a place so much written in my heart.
I am a volunteer of the Salesian Voluntary Movement of Don Bosco. After a full year of preparation in the Salesian Mission House – Warsaw, I came to know that together with four other volunteers, I will be on the Black Continent in Don Bosco CALM. Even though I knew a bit CALM from the stories and narrations from the other volunteers, still my heart was like “tabula rasa” – clean black board, which started getting shape and its own history from the moment I stepped down at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
I would like to write about everything what made a lasting impression on my heart but would that be possible? Being together with boys at CALM, every day gave a new motive to smile. After sometime I understood that it is not only the boys at CALM that are so open, joyful, making people feel at home, but all the people of Uganda I came in contact with. So, being thousands of kilometers from home, even the moments of feeling home-sick were not that painful and strong, because I had always that feeling I am at home. The atmosphere of Calm and Uganda made an imprint on my heart so strong that being back with my dear ones, I have the feeling that my family has grown greatly.
In Uganda I had a chance to learn quite a lot – but I think most of all being humble and perseverance. Work with the boys is not always easy. There were moments when the “spirit” was saying “YES”, but the body “NO” . In those moments it was the Lord that was stretching out his hand and with a smile was saying “mpola, mpola” – slowly, slowly. To slow down my life style was the biggest homework to do. Now as I am back in Poland, there is another exam awaiting me – changing my life style, mimics of the face, special looks and gestures the boys were teaching us. There will also be a fitness test from the times I spent with the boys in the volleyball or basketball pitch, or just the simple but often a time tough “Holiday Package” the boys had to do. Testing will be also for my physical strength, which I had to build while working with the boys or the spirit being always fired or warmed up through our common prayers.
During my stay in Uganda there were also moments of escapades, seeing Uganda in its beauty. We went to the south to Lake Bunioni (second deepest in Africa) and its surrounding beauty. Banana gardens, green and beautiful hills and the small spread, though as if hidden houses for the people. The full moon, sky full of stars, cows with tremendous horns, all were the breathtaking seems on our journey.
Similar experience I had when going to the North of Uganda to Murchison National Park and the beautiful Murchison Falls, wild animals and natural habitat, what a formidable seen. Visit paid to the town of Gulu – so much in memories of the people, as the biggest tragedies of manslaughter took place, then the wonderful evening in Ndere Center with the cultural dances of Uganda and Burundi. It was like travelling through and through Uganda and seeing people in their traditional dresses and performing their dances. What a marvelous experience. And all this, was just a generous offer to us from our “Maama Africa”.
I cannot just forget the other escapades we had, though shorter in distance but were also a very memorable moments in our lives: visit to Salesian Mission in Bombo, visit to Kampala – Capital City, pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs in Namugongo. Our Lord only knows the words we would like to use to express out gratitude.
It is just, I would say a few moments from the time of returning back to Poland from Uganda-Africa, but I have to acknowledge that Uganda somehow changed me. Our Good God wanted me to go there, why, maybe I will never come to know the WHY, but I carry in my heart that great THANK YOU, that great gratitude for making it possible, for fulfilling my heart desires, for giving me so many chances to meet people, try to share my life with theirs and above all through all these experiences and exciting moments to make some few steps closer to Heaven.