It is a month today since I left East Africa and returned to the UK, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month wrestling for words to wrap around the emotions and experiences of the trip.
Before I left, my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t be a good enough photographer. I learnt a lot about my style of photography, that I love natural, unposed stuff. I love to work unobtrusively where possible. I like to capture life as it happens, not just in set-up moments. That said, I grew in confidence in setting up shots, asking people to do something or stand somewhere for a shot.
I discovered that I have a passion for cities! I was returning by bus from a couple of days up in Kamuli district, and as we got closer and closer to Kampala I could feel the excitement growing in me. I love the hustle and bustle, the constant interaction between people. It’s been interesting to discover this, as someone who grew up in the middle of nowhere! I still love to be able to escape to the ocean and the hills, but I adore being in big cities and around people – I need the stimulation that comes from it! Which also helps explain why I find it hard to sit in an office all day long!
I was reminded of how much I’m called to be a connector. I’m gifted at networking – its the one gift I have that I feel I can honestly be open about! I was reminded of it as I had coffee with a friend in my favourite place in Kampala, Bancafe: I’m from Northern Ireland, live in Scotland, she’s from Norway, we met in Latvia, and had coffee in Uganda…! Over the course of the trip I got to meet a lot of amazing people from all over the world – NI, Scotland, England, Australia, Holland, Uganda, Rwanda, USA… It’s exciting to think of the potential there is there to connect people with their passions and to each other.
I learnt a lot about the difficulties of being white. It is almost impossible to get past the fact that you are white, and I confess that sometimes I struggled with cynicism about peoples motives in wanting to befriend us. It was hard at times to move beyond that and build meaningful relationships.
I spent a lot of time dealing with the rawness of my own heart, and dreaming about the future. I’m still dealing with so much in my own life, still wrestling with my own brokenness, yet secure in the knowledge that I am loved, and that I am getting there… step by step – even if those steps are sometimes miniscule.
The phrase below is one of the things that has been ruminating in my mind ever since I heard it, a few weeks into my trip. I feel it will continue to be there for some time to come!
“Love like your heart has never been broken.”