One Month Later

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.”


I read Brian McLarens latest book, Finding Our Way Again, on the train back up to Glasgow yesterday. In it, he relates a story of being in a church one morning where they used a particular shared confession in the service. I was struck by it, and wanted to share it…

Gracious God,
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide,
and too deep to undo.

Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer
bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgement.

Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
open to us a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image,
through Jesus Christ,
the light of the world. Amen.


It’s been a busy few days in London, but enjoyable for the most part! I’ve been at the Christian Aid HQ for induction and training with the rest of the gap staff, and it’s been great to have time to spend getting to know each other a bit better. They’re great folks, and I’m looking forward to working with them and especially to our trip to DRC in October.

We’ve spent most of the day stuck in a basement room not very well lit, so have been escaping to the roof top garden for lunch, and to the local cafes and bars for evening entertainment! Spent some time in the Hub, and recently discovered that scooterworks (somewhere Jonny Baker raves about) is just down the street from the office!

That said, looking forward to my return to Glasgow this evening!