I decided to volunteer with the Peace for Paul organization in the fall of 2013. A friend told me about the program and I had no idea what to expect when I got there. I traveled from Maui, HI to Uganda with a friend for the adventure of a lifetime. What can I say… it was amazing! The capacity to love children that you only just met is incredible. I was in love from the beginning. The process of preparation (shots, packing, and travel plans) was pretty easy. The Peace for Paul team made the arrangements simple for me and I never felt scared.
We arrived in the middle of the night, but the next morning when we stepped outside, little boys ran to me and threw themselves at me. No one has ever been so happy to see me in all of my life, and these boys were strangers. The 6 boys that I met on that first morning had only been rescued from the street weeks earlier. They were gaining strength and overcoming a lot. The first week was very precious with just our tiny herd. They knew almost no English, but that rarely mattered. Somehow, I always knew what they were saying.
My second week in Uganda, the other boys and girls returned home from boarding school. They moved in as a whirlwind… And I was in love! Every child greeted me with a huge hug. They ranged from 4 years old to 16. Unfortunately, some of the boys had returned from school with a bug. That first week home 10 boys got sick. This led to my first trip to the clinic, but holding them during shots, hugging, kissing, whipping tears, administering meds, and tiny sick boys dragging themselves over to me to lay in my lap was my greatest joy to date. The boys recovered lightning quick and we began a normal routine.
One of the best moments for me was the third week: I was singing while I cleaned in the kitchen – the boys were outside playing. One or two at a time I gained an audience. I realized that these guys were gathering so I could sing to them, so I stopped cleaning and went and sat with them. They all laid down without me saying a word and I sang 12 boys to sleep at once in the middle of the day.
Most of the boys had personal tragedy stories that were difficult to hear. My background is in counseling, so part of my job was to meet with some of the kids one on one for some counseling. I was able to pull out six kids for weekly meetings. My friend and I also did English games, safety lessons, reading times, sports, cards, etc. There was never a dull moment.
The boy’s home had 2 male staff members (house dads) and there was a girl’s home down the street that had 2 house moms. I enjoyed playing momma at the boy’s home, but I often spent time hanging out at the girl’s home. All of the Peace for Paul staff became my family and made me feel so welcome. My time in Uganda was not without challenges, but the reward of giving your time to help a group of children who need you is worth every effort. Since returning to the states, I have become a sponsor myself. I have seen what this team of people are doing first hand, and I can tell you that lives
are being changed. I cannot wait for the next chance I get to visit the Peace for Paul family.
– Tasha Mohline | PFP Volunteer