Two years ago, I took some faltering steps towards the dream I hold closest to my heart:
photographs that change the world.
On a warm summers day 3 years ago, my friend Suse opened a door for me, which resulted in a summer spent documenting the work of Fields of Life in East Africa.
I spent almost two months based out of Kampala, working alongside short-term visiting teams and local staff, witnessing the joys and frustrations of Ugandan life. Falling in love with both the country and the people.
Four days ago, two bombs went off in two separate locations in Kampala, leaving 74 people dead.
One of those locations was Ethiopian Village Restaurant, a mere stones-throw from the FOL office.
That was my area. That is my area.
A lump forms in my throat as I remember walking past the restaurant and across the street to buy ice cream on lazy afternoons off, or get a boda boda into Bancafe.
Mercifully, the FOL staff are all safe. But my dear friends at Invisible Children lost one of their staff. Nate “Oteka” Henn had been working for IC for 18 months, and while I did not know him personally, several friends did. Nate fought for his Ugandan friends, for their stories, for hope for them, for the possibility of peace. His life inspired me even though we never met.
My mind wanders back so frequently to memories of that summer spent living my dream, and seeing it have an impact. It seems so far away now, and yet we wake each day with the opportunity to place our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to try to stop the bleeding. For our Ugandan friends it is a very literal bleeding this week. Perhaps for us the wounds are more hidden, our bleeding more internal.
May you place your hands over a wound this week and join so many others as we seek to make our lives a gift to those around us.
A stumbling, stuttering, sometimes-failing gift, but a gift nonethless.