Returning to Jinja


I was pretty nervous about coming back.  I do not like the long days of travel to get here, and once I arrived; I was throwing up something bad I ate on the plane.  I keep thinking to myself, “well great, maybe this is God telling me I should not be here.” 

I stayed in bed the first day, but when I was feeling better, I came back to The James Place for the first time in two years.  All the things were going through my head; what if they don’t remember me, what if I make a wrong first impression again, basically all the worst-case scenarios of everything that could happen.  When I drove through the gates, I just felt immense peace all of a sudden.  I got out of the car and starting walking from department to department and everyone would get up and yell of happiness and wrapped me in the warmest hugs.  My heart was too happy for words to explain.  I am still taking it all as my heart is becoming fuller every day.  I feel like I have so much to catch up on with everyone I could spend another year here and it still would not be enough time.

I became very close with one of the girls here who now works in the kitchen.  She and I are 18 days apart in age and she has a 6-year-old now.  Even though she has a child, there are still so many aspects of life that we could relate and talk about for hours.  Coming back and seeing her, we just picked up right where we left off.  We have become even closer in the month that I have been here than I could have imagined.  We have a special bond that I hope will never be broken.  I spend most of my days in the kitchen trying to help them out and they act like I am the biggest help in the world, but I know in reality I just slow them down. 

The women here are more special than I can put into words.  These women have the most incredible stories.  I thought I learned a lot about all of them women in the year I spent here, but I am still learning so many things about them every day.  There is nothing quite like getting a hug from any child here.  No matter how you are feeling on any given day, it is guaranteed to make your day even better.  Seeing how much the children have grown in size and smarts since I have been gone is a beautiful thing to see.  Most of the kids that were here when I was here are now in preschool and have even graduated to P1. The word proud does not even begin the explain the feeling.  I told everyone before I came that all I want to do is talk and hold babies.  I have done both of these things every single day and truly my heart is fuller than I can even begin to explain. 

- Halina Hannon, Volunteer Intern