In early April, the ACTS team travelled to Uganda to engage with the community we serve there, Mizizi. It was the first time since 2015 our entire team was on the ground, together, dreaming into what our impact will look like over the next few years.
My favorite part of traveling is the chance to experience new cultures, discovering things I never would’ve known had I stayed home. I become a more well-rounded person when I intentionally engage with those who live life different. It is a blessing and luxury to travel cross-culturally. And I try to make the most of it by learning as much as I can from new relationships.
The most beautiful thing we found in Uganda, besides the beautiful scenery, was the beauty in simplicity.
Contentment is often hard to find in the Western world. With access to never-ending resources and a consumerist mindset, we’re often told we aren’t good enough… we need more. The comparison game between the haves and have nots is endless and exhausting. Though it seems counterintuitive, becoming content, for me, usually requires intentionality. Purposely pursuing contentment by practicing gratitude and shifting my mindset from lack to abundance.
In Uganda, contentment abounds. As if it were Ugandans default, they choose happiness and peace despite what they may lack in material goods or resources. This is not to say they don’t have goals or desires. I found in almost every conversation, the women and youth we work with dream big. But they don’t hinge their contentment on whether they succeed at their dreams or not.
“Give thanks for the little and you will find a lot.” -African Proverb
What a revolutionary idea. To focus on what we have, even if it’s little, can shift our mindset toward contentment. Going for a walk in nature, enjoying a home-cooked meal, or spending time with loved ones can all be sources of contentment if we allow ourselves to fully appreciate them.
Our program in Uganda’s name is Mizizi, Swahili for rooted. It’s freeing when we can find ourselves planted in a way of life that breeds satisfaction, regardless of circumstances. I am in awe of the way Ugandans do life. They’ve discovered the secret to balance day to day. Balance between desire and fulfilment, the necessity of change and the patience to see it through. May we all discover that balance and discover what being rooted in contentment can look like in our lives.