Steamboat Springs David Kissane stepped up to a microphone in Heritage Christian School’s auditorium Tuesday and took the crowd in front of him to the slums of Uganda.
“I went there ready to go as hard as I could every day to help people,” the sophomore told the crowd as he recalled the trip he took last month with his classmates to the African country. “But when I got to the slums, my mentality changed because I realized sometimes, I cannot make a huge difference. My trip made me realize how lucky I am to live where I live. It kind of made me sick to see how I’m living compared to these kids who sleep outside and in rags.”
Kissane and his classmates said they did not find the sorrow they expected to find in the impoverished country. Instead, from the moment their taxis arrived in the village of Kaliro, they found children who appreciated what little they had and who exuded joy.
“I had to put head fungus cream on little kids. I washed their hands. I taught kids poetry who haven’t learned about rhyming words yet,” senior Emily Heiner said. “There were a lot of hard situations that I initially thought I would rather have watched someone else do. But I realized, ‘This is your job; no one else will do it.’ My trip changed my view of how I treat people daily and how a simple task of washing hands can mean so much to someone.”
After working for months to raise $2,650 each for their travel expenses, Heiner and 15 other Heritage Christian high school students traveled with a small group of teachers to Uganda and Rwanda last month for a two-week mission trip. The students worked with Come, Let’s Dance, a Steamboat-based nonprofit, and volunteered on a farm, at a school and at a medical clinic in Uganda. Another group of five students traveled to Los Angeles on a weeklong mission trip.
“For me, the biggest thing about these trips was having the kids realize just how much they have to be thankful for, how simply people can live in the world, and how God can use these students to make a difference,” Heritage Christian administrator Dave Entwistle said. “I’ve seen the slum areas, but to have our kids experience that firsthand and to find that there is a joy in serving, that to me is really the heart of this trip.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com