← Project Uganda 2018 ~ Alyssa Devlin #3

This young man photographed with me is Gilbert, he is one of the many beautiful children of Fundo Primary School. He and I formed a wonderful connection from the first day we met.

After introducing myself and doing a funny little demonstration in front of the class, he would give off a very subtle laugh each time I approached his table. After only a few hours of working within the class he began to wait for me to walk past and he would subtly call “Alyssa Alyssa”(which sounded like Alesha) when his group needed help. I later learnt his name, and he loved that I remembered it (this was a task and a half initially).
I probably don’t have enough time or space to document fully how our funny little friendship evolved over those 5 days, but boy does it stick with me. 

I sit here and I can’t help but cry. He knew by the end of those days that I was a safe place, and this withdrawn seemingly shy young man began to open up. He became my subtle little side kick in the class room, and there was not one day that he didn’t come and find me to say goodbye before leaving.

He would somehow always find me, and me him in amongst the sea of beautiful brown eyes. Then he’d give me this comfortable wave, and head nod followed by his gentle smile. 

When we were driving off for the last time, he held my hand briefly through the window as we said goodbye. “Will you come back?” he asked me. 
All I could say was “I really hope I can see you again Gilbert, I’ll be praying for you and telling my friends and family about you! See you soon”.

And that is only one of many little ones that have captured a piece of my heart! Each of their little faces show hardship and loss, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with the large sea of lack. But you should have seen the joy that flowed, as we invested time into them. As we discussed important (somewhat unspoken)topics, guided them through basic tailoring skills, and demonstrated hygiene practices. They became like family to our team. 
It didn’t matter to them whether they only received a toothbrush, one item of clothing, or a bag of marbles or soccer ball to share. It was the time that we invested, the small yet pivotal skills, and the relationships that mattered.
Reaching the one will always be worth it!"

~ Alyssa Devlin (Senior Educator - Chrysalis ELC)