I’ve been sitting here alone for the past hour listening to some music. Chilling to the sounds of Ben Howard, Paolo Nutini and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. It’s great stuff and I love the songs…

But I love them not just for the songs, but for the memories they evoke. It’s amazing how music can do that. How some songs can remind you of certain times in your life. Somewhere between the notes, words, chords and music they paint a picture of a place you once were.

Tonight I’m listening to my African playlist. A selection of 100 songs that Sarah put together for me the night before I left for Uganda at the start of July. I listened to these songs on the plane while others slept. I listened to these songs when we took time alone. And I listened to these songs in my bed every night reflecting on the events of the day.

And tonight these same songs are bringing back some potent memories…

Memories of the pure joy on children’s faces as we arrived in their classroom
Memories of playing Duck, Duck, Goose and singing silly songs with scores of children
Memories of listening to the sounds of our African host family sing together under the night’s sky
Memories of watching a group of people I have shared with over the past year immerse themselves in a playground of several hundred kids
Memories of laughing at some ridiculous things with those same friends
Memories of such intense yet honest staring eyes, asking for little more than attention and time
Memories of those same eyes longing for more as we served rice into their pathetic little plastic bags
Memories of a contentment within myself, of a peace in God, and of a richness that comes from living in community with others.

At times it seemed to be like God was more present in Africa. Of course this isn’t true but the feeling was hard to shake. Perhaps it’s because He is near to the broken hearted, close to the weak and his heart is bent towards the poor.

Things are simpler in Africa. The lack of extra commodities is made up for by enjoying the gift of time together. The lack of advanced technology is replaced with being fully present with each other. And the lack of resources close to hand leads to a greater contentment in what they already have.

What I had in my hand the children longed to hold.
What the children had in their lives I longed to have.

I’ll share more basic details about our trip in time. In truth, I’m still taking time to reflect on the whole experience. But for now I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of those who require so much, yet ask for so little…


The new swing we provided for the school


Serving lunch to 800 children and young people


The class of 13-14 year olds we had the privilege of teaching for a fortnight