We’re excited to share that Be The Good recently aided in funding a service trip to Uganda. Olivia Flint, the recipient, spent her time in the region establishing schools, clean water wells and healthcare clinics and serving meals to locals. All of this was made possible through Conduit Mission, an organization that exists to equip individuals with opportunities to deliver time, treasure and talents to people who need it most.
Once Olivia returned home, we asked her a few questions to learn more about her experience in Uganda.
- How did you spend your time? What did a typical day look like?
The organization I served with provides finances for new schools, wells and clinics to be built and staffed in areas where perpetual poverty has prevailed. While in Uganda, I spent my days traveling to villages outside of the capital city, opening new schools and visiting with families preparing for our team’s arrival.
Each day, we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast our friendly hotel staff prepared before piling into buses and driving out of Kampala into a bush village. We arrived in the early afternoon, where smiling faces and hands reaching out to grab ours greeted us. The children would sing songs to welcome us to their village and thank us for their new school. The community pastor would then tell us about the progress made in the town and give us a tour of the new school grounds and water well. Then we’d have a small ribbon-cutting celebration to open the building. We would play with children and serve villagers meals before heading to another Conduit-sponsored community. We ended our nights with team dinners and overflowing gratitude.
- Why is establishing schools, clean water wells and healthcare clinics vital to the Ugandan communities you served?
The needs of all three establishments are intertwined. Community schools allow children to become educated and learn how to work hard. Education helps them obtain knowledge and money to meet their needs and transform their communities.
I met a nurse at a small clinic in a village called Kakiri. As the only nurse in town, the residents often call her “doctor.” She sees 30-40 patients daily and more during the wet season when malaria cases are higher. Before Kakiri got a clinic, the nearest healthcare facility was 5 miles away, and when villagers are ill but don’t have vehicles, traveling 5 miles to obtain healthcare is almost impossible.
Accordingly, clean water lessens the number of deaths and diseases that send people to the clinics. Access to a cheap pill can be the difference between life and death for these villagers. Without education, clean water, or healthcare, these communities will remain in cycles of lack and despair.
- What was your favorite part of your service trip?
My favorite moment was seeing a village full of previously unreached people run into their new school building while dancing, shouting and singing songs of praise in their tribal dialect. Their joy was contagious! I felt abundant peace and purpose as I witnessed the very beginning of a community transforming.
- What is one unexpected thing you learned from your time in Uganda about the community transformation portion of your service trip?
I didn’t expect to learn the background as to why many parents in Uganda hesitate to send their children to school. I thought, “If education is essential for community transformation, why are so many people untrusting?” One of my group mates answered my questions about Ugandan culture and explained what strategies effectively produce positive change and which do not.
Some individuals prey on these villages with promises to save, heal and help Ugandans when in reality, they exploit them. Many Ugandans are tricked into paying money for fake promises of prosperity, and when failure arises, they fall into the poverty cycle that has been afflicting generations. This corruption causes Ugandans to be highly wary of people offering to provide help.
Our conversation has changed how I view serving people in need, regardless of where they live.
- What is one aspect of Ugandan culture that surprised you?
I was surprised to learn how involved community members are in each other’s lives. For example, when wedding events occur in Uganda, every friend must take part in hosting one of the three separate gatherings and ceremonies.
People love talking about their communities and tribes, as mentorship and accountability are expected in Ugandan culture. Identity is created in a relational setting rather than an individual one.
- What is your favorite memory from this trip?
If I could combine all the hugs and words of love I received into a single memory, I would. A simple song sticks out as I think back to my time in Uganda. Everything we’re doing in Uganda, whether stateside or on-site, is embedded in these lyrics sung by the students I met: “I will no more suffer, I will not beg for bread.”
Education, clean water, and healthcare allow people to live new lives without suffering. This is the impact of establishing community resources!