I had never really thought about the meaning of the word, until over a year ago when I attended a yoga class. Before the set sequence begins, the instructor first defines a word, and explains how it relates to life and to the yoga practice. This word/explanation has stuck with me ever since. What was said was:
Enthusiasm is the complete excitement about life. Think about your first day at a new job. My thoughts always revolve around how this will be the BEST job in the whole world and their will be so much happiness and excitement. A few months later, a person gets used to that job and it loses its sparkly-ness. Instead it becomes just a thing you have to do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Its just a part of your life. The key is, to continue to be enthusiastic about life, even if it is the same thing every day. Be thankful EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Its hard to be excited about life every day. Let's be real. Some days are just more mundane then others. But, ever since I heard that instructor talk it has stuck with me. Why can't every day be exciting, fun, and full of greatness?
The truth is. It can be. I have to constantly remind myself that how I think about the day tells me more about how the day will be, then what actually occurs in that day.
For example, I was lucky enough to go to Gulu (Northern Uganda) with a housemate and her intern on a work trip for HALO. HALO is an amazing foundation, so if you want to check them out feel free at http://www.haloworldwide.org. (HALO is how we originally got into contact with our two beneficiaries).
I could have complained that I missed the first bus (it seems that I have bad juju when it comes to public transport), had to take a 7 hour bumpy ride up north, and had to shower in freezing cold showers, but you know what, all of that didn't phase me at all. What I remember from the trip is rushing through Kampala on a boda to catch another bus, dancing and singing with the girls from the home, bonding with the two ladies I traveled with and having "sleepovers". I remember eating some of the most delicious pizza, eating at the same restaurant 4x in a 3 day period, because of how scrumptious it is! I remember being in awe on Restore International's property (where I got to swing). I fondly remember meeting the founder of Tribe (another amazing organization) and buying jewelry and a bag made by the women in Northern Uganda. I remember funny conversations with boda drivers while they transported me around town.
Since being in Uganda and becoming a part of Acacia Avenue Designs I have found myself to be enthusiastic about life. Every small task that gets completed feels like the greatest feat. Standing in line at 3 different banks, to pay the water bill, and both the girls school fees made my Monday feel so unbelievably productive.
Every time I pass the odd dinosaur sculpture on my way into a mall to pull money out of the ATM I find myself smiling.
Being invited to the wedding of our seamstresses daughter caused me to literally jump for joy, hug Florence (the seamstress) and become unbelievably giddy.
Going to the strangest amusement park in Uganda (okay, it is the only amusement park in Uganda) was surprisingly entertaining. The majority of the rides were shut down, the rides we were able to go on where run down and scary (due to the fact that it looked/sounded like it was going to break down at any moment), but the experience was unquestionably awesome. I got the opportunity to explore the sketch Wonder World with two amazing ladies and got the opportunity to cross off one more thing on my Uganda Bucket List. Also, I got to take a picture with my all-time favorite Disney character (Donald Duck), so I can't complain at all.
I have discovered the hard way that my rain jacket is faulty and does not protect against heavy rains. Instead of being upset, I slid through mud to a boda and drove through what felt like a river (water sloshing onto my feet while we slowly coasted on the road that we could't actually see anymore, due to the heavy rain) and fist pumped the air when we made it out without the boda being washed away. The only bummer about that experience was that I didn't get a video of the amount of water, because of my fear of dropping my phone and watching it disappear forever.
Finally, I am filled with joy every time I see how far our beneficiaries have come. They have taken direction from our seamstress and our great friend/fashion designer and have learned how to complete 2 dress designs, have begun working on perfecting the patterns for Acacia Avenue Designs first line, have just begun their second semester at school, have danced around the house to the sounds of Shakira and the downpour that was happening outside, and have shared with me their dreams for their country. Barbara and Sandra both have mentioned how corrupt some aspects of Uganda are and how they are both determined to positively impact the great country that they come from.
Thank you for continuing to read about the excitement of life in Uganda and being a part of the pursuit for empowerment and living each and every day with enthusiasm. I'll leave you with a quote I am constantly thinking about since being in Uganda.
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. What the world needs is people who come alive". - Howard Thurman