One of my favorite things about Uganda is the children we pass on the road. They excitedly wave and smile while yelling the word “Mzungu”. Mzungu is the Lugandan word for white people. As we communicate with the kids on the streets and in villages or the kids in the boarding school it is peppered throughout the conversation, not out of disrespect, but more out of curiosity.
There are so many things that are special or memorable while you’re on a mission trip but one day in particular will be forever in my heart. Our team was visiting the boarding school in Mbira one morning. To our delight, some of the younger day school students were outside during their free time playing games. When they saw us coming the murmur of the word Mzungu could be heard among their conversations. One little girl in particular stared intently at me. At first she was shy, no smile, just staring. After a few minutes she gently took my hand into hers. This is when my heart swelled with love for this child I had just met. The Holy Spirit took over and Girades was forever imprinted on my heart.
She went over ever facet of my hands, turning them over and over, and rubbing her hands over mine very intentionally. Our hands together were a reflection of God. Although we spoke different languages and had different skin colors we were created and loved by God. As Girades continued to examine our hands together her teacher called them in, she finally let go. As I watched her go back to her desk she smelled the hand that she had been touching my hand. It was as if she wanted to remember every moment, every detail, and every essence of her time with the Mzungu. I don’t know for sure if she will remember our short time together but I know I will: every moment, every touch, every smile.