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Thank you

I’ve been ‘lost’

Not actually lost. It’s a Ugandan way of saying that you haven’t seen/heard from someone in a while.

Like always life has got in the way. I’ve been back in Australia for 2 months now, with only a few days to go before I head home to Kamwenge.

How has it been coming back to Australia, I hear you ask?

Some things have been awesome. Other things have been hard. We’ve experienced a bit of reverse culture shock. We have been very tired, and sometimes not been able to get the rest we have needed. There have been lots of presentations to give. Lots of friends to catch up with. Lots of lists to work through, for Maranatha Health and for us personally. Lots of yummy food along the way.

In all of that there has been one stand-out positive, which has been a wonderful thing for me to re-learn.

I have lots of people who care about me and who care about the work of Maranatha Health in Kamwenge.

On an organisational level, when we moved to Uganda, we were quite nervous. The ‘handover’ process was less than ideal, there were still a few holes in the organisation (as there always are with any new fledging movement) and we wondered how things would pan out.

Returning to Australia, it has been a whole new world! We have returned to a very professional organisation which looks much less chaotic than its Ugandan counterpart, with a committed team of volunteers who make a million different things happen day-to-day. People who are invested in MH and want to make a difference in the world, using their gifts in numerous ways – whether it be organising events, branding and marketing, governance, medical expertise, networking, dinners, financial management, book-keeping, video-making, administration, IT…the list goes on…

Since coming back we have spoken at many places. Each time we go to present about MH, there is a roomful of people waiting to hear our story and encourage us enormously. Most of the time, there are a few (or more) committed MH supporters in the room who are cheering us on, hard at work arranging the details and making sure the presentations go smoothly. Often we meet people that I don’t even know personally, but know so much about my work and my life.

I guess that is some of what it means to be a part of a grass-roots organisation. Maranatha Health Australia has become, over the past few years, a network of like-minded people invested in making change in Uganda, with whatever skills and resources they have. And its bloody awesome!

On a personal level, there were lots of warnings from expats and other well-travelled friends, reminding me that coming home would be difficult and people would have forgotten about me a little. That people wouldn’t understand. That they wouldn’t want to hear too many details. That they wouldn’t have much time to give to me…

I know many who have had that experience and it must be terribly lonely. At other times when I have travelled (once for 3 months, once for 6 months) I have had difficult experiences coming home. But that has not been my experience this time. Instead, I have an amazingly supportive family, and I have had an amazing group of friends from different spheres of my life – many who have travelled or even spent time in Africa themselves – who have been incredibly supportive. Most of them I have kept in contact with through skype or email while away, and so there wasn’t much of each others’ lives we had missed.

My closest friends have simply listened to me and loved me, and we have picked up where we left off. To those of you who are in that category – and you know who you are – thank you. To have you as my close friends (and family), I feel incredibly privileged.

So, this blog piece isn’t really a piece of writing. It isn’t really saying much about the world. I just wanted to thank all of you – supporters and friends and family.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.