I've been living in Uganda for 7 days now!
My biggest walk of faith EVER... so far it's been super #WorthIt!
Lemme give you a recap of my 1st week :)
Last Tuesday I left Los Angeles, a place I had called home for the past 8 years. I spent pretty much all of my 20’s in California. Initially I had only planned to attend Grad school then bounce back to Ohio- Clearly God had other plans! Anyways, I boarded the plane with about 7 pieces of luggage, hugged my sweet cousin Lena goodbye, made like 18 phone calls to family members & set out for the 22 hour journey. The first 10 hours took me to Amsterdam, where I was able to get my last cup of Starbucks for the next 10 months. #Priorities. The second half of the flight stopped in Rwanda, then to Entebbe, UGANDA!
I landed Wed night and was greeted by both a driver sent from the new school I’ll be working at & my Ugandan brother/great friend Derrick! Shout out to God that ALL my luggage made it & nothing was missing! That night I settled into the house I am living in with 2 other expat teachers & slept for about 4 hours. That Thursday morning I was picked up and taken to the school for some introductions! I was too pumped to notice the sleep deprivation.
I am pumped cause the school is literally like an 8 minute walk away from our house! It’s proximity is ideal, but these narrow streets without sidewalks were a bit of an adjustment. I lowkey just cry out to Jesus during those 8 minutes like, “Lord, please don’t let my toes get run over by a car, help these Bodas (Motocycle taxis) to stay off my heels & please don’t let a chicken cause me to dive into the street! Amen”.
The house we live in is dope! I sleep in my own room with a canopy bed & mosquito net. Although Malaria is a thing here, I’m more concerned about one of these lizard/gecko creatures that like to crawl on my ceiling deciding to fall into my mouth while sleeping. Sooo, I pretend this net is a force field that will shield me from all monster cock roaches, jumping spiders & stray reptiles. So far so good!
Overall I am loving living here & my roommates are super sweet! We don’t have a TV in the house, but we do have decent WiFi & Netflix works in Uganda, yay! I haven’t really explored cooked anything epic yet the past week. For dinner I’ve either survived off of this 5 pack of Dollar Tree Ramen Noodles I brought, or gone out to get local food w/ friends. The other day I ate a WHOLE FISH! Eyeballs and teeth were on my plate y'all!! I used my fingers to pick around the bones!
Heritage is awesome!! I kinda feel like it’s too good to be true lol. The campus is BEAUTIFUL & The teachers are all so kind and welcoming. It’s an international school so there are teachers & students from all over the world! This first week I’ve shadowed the Junior Kindergarten class that I’ll eventually lead. All of the children are 4 years old and just the cutest things ever! All day I hear tiny sweet voices in a variety of accents call out, “Ms.Davis” or “Ms.Melody” and my heart melts. Ugh!
Also shoutout to Heritage for the amazing school lunch. It’s different everyday & I they have vegetarian/seafood options! Yaaass!! My favorite part of the day is when the kids are in centers and I get to interact with them to teach basic skills & help stimulate their brains through play. I’m loving how they are learning to write their names, count to 100, recognize patterns, tie their shoes, how to use their words instead of crying, how to share with their friends, follow directions etc. I am learning so much from them already!
I am super blessed to already have a community of amazing friends that live here in Kampala. I met them all on my past Reach Up Reach Out missions trips. The transition has actually felt more like a reunion! I’ve gotten to hangout with them and explore the city a little. I took my first solo Uber (yes there is Uber here!! & I am not comfortable riding a boda-boda) to a coffee shop called Endiro. I was slightly nervous, but I totally made it just fine-Yay!
One thing that has made me a little uncomfortable though is the way I get stared at when i'm in town, or anywhere outside of the school campus really. I’m sure I probably have a touristy vibe about me still haha, but I was shocked at how many stares I get when out in these Ugandan streets. I thought my brown "African American" skin would help me blend in a bit more, but apparently naaaaaa haha. Maybe it’s not just me, but I walk around like, “what!? is something in my teeth!?”. lol
Another adjustment is the time difference. I’m like 7-10 hours ahead of my friends and family back in the states forcing my communication to be a little more strategic. WiFi is saving the day with apps like WhatsApp being my main mode of communication, second to MarcoPolo!
I am looking forward to continuing to settle into my teaching role at Heritage. I want to be more confident in teaching the little ones & would love to deepen relationships with other staff as well. The children bring me sooo much joy. I pray to be able to make an impact in their lives. I daily ask God to pour me out & use me however He sees fit! This is such a dream come true!! :)
I'm also looking forward to the Holidays when I’ll get to spend some time with the Reach Up Reach Out group that comes from LA for the annual outreach in Tororo Uganda with orphaned children! I miss those children at Smile Africa. The orphanage is about 6 hours away from Kampala, and we'll throw a giant, epic Christmas party soon! Also, I am specifically excited that I’ll get to spend almost the whole month with my favorite West Coast family Shunna & Alex, Layla & Caleb in December!!
I am also looking forward to exploring the Pearl of Africa aka Uganda more! There are some amazing national parks, waterfalls, hikes and other outdoorsy things to experience here. Not to mention the NileRiver and Lake Victoria are right down the street! 😍 Lots of free gorgeous green adventure just waiting for me!!
In addition to teaching, RURO & exploring Uganda I am most happy about the time I am getting to spend with myself and God. The pace of life here is refreshing. I’m sure it can and will sometimes feel a bit lonely, but that’s something that I know my souls needs to navigate. I am happy to have more margin in my life. More space to intentionally be still and know that He is God. More time to write. More time to pray. More time to sing. More time to paint! More time to literally just be, not so much “do”. I am grateful for this stretching experience and I know this is just the beginning.
Special thank you to everyone who gave money to help make this trip possible. I have raised a little over $5k since August, and have been able to make the transition smoother because of your help. I still have some financial obligations to cover in the US, as well as Ugandan responsibilities for the year so your continued support REALLY does make a difference. Your giving- no matter how small adds up and goes a long way here.
Please feel free to ask questions, leave comments and if you aren’t already- follow me on Insta @melody_davis! I plan to make daily IG stories & weekly posts about how things are going! I love your interaction & support!!
Until next time!
Xoxo Melody Amber