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The Uganda Experience

Creighton University backpack journalism crew at the Ave Maria Vocational School in Lira, Uganda.

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Uganda, Africa with the Creighton University backpack studies program. I traveled with eight other students and three professors to make a documentary about the influence of music in Ugandan culture. The program also covered a theology course in which we discussed the models of the church and the issue of poverty.

Before the trip I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t even been out of the country since I was in third grade. For me, everything about this adventure was a learning experience. Was I scared to go? Not really, obviously there’s some fear in the unknown, the fear of catching a foreign illness and the fear of getting lost, but I thought about it more as jumping into the deep end of a pool. There was no way I could prepare myself completely for what I was about to experience. I know I definitely learned more through this experience than any amount of information I could possibly have learned in the classroom.

Everything bad that could possibly happen on this trip happened and everything good that could happen on this trip happened. Nothing went according to plan, as per the Ugandan way, some of the group got sick and even Teresa’s mother (who she talked about constantly) passed away while we were deep in the heart of Uganda. I’m pretty sure that she couldn’t have been further from her family, from home. But all of us arrived safely, worked hard, departed safely and none of us regretted anything about the experience. Even now, almost two months later, I wish I could go back as the overwhelming American lifestyle gets to be too much and as I go through all the pictures we took. I miss the days in Uganda where no one pays attention to what time it is or whether they’ll get everything done in one day.

To read more about my experience in Uganda, please visit the Backpack Studies website.


1 Comment so far

  1. Heidi, what a terrific blog post. I too sometimes wish I could be there. Not because it’s easier, but because of that immediacy and present-ness that I sometimes don’t feel here. I just have to work on being more present here. Thanks for the reminder.

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