I learned a lot while in Uganda

One month ago, as you know, I went to Uganda to teach. I have been back for a couple of weeks now, but I hadn’t been in the mood to write about Tourette, because all the things I had seen and done first had to sink in a little.

First of all, it was amazing! It was very tough at times, but it was so, so good as well. I was so happy there, you can’t even imagine. Not that I’m not happy here, but I literally screamed (more than once) that I didn’t want to leave (luckily, I wasn’t the only one ;) ). The group was amazing, and I really think we’ve achieved a lot.

Being there, I came across some things that related to my Tourette as well. I always joke about that I should’ve been born 50 years ago, so I wouldn’t have all those things like internet, TV and cell phones to distract me and make me tired. And in Uganda, it is like that.

I mean, all that stuff is there as well, but most of the time, you can’t use it because of the lack of reception! And it was SOOOO relaxed! It was quiet and peaceful, and I didn’t get tired that easily, and I didn’t get cranky that easily — it was so nice!!

Of course, there is a downside to it, because you can’t communicate that easily as we’re used to, but it was worth it! All the things that constantly annoy me and make me do stuff like checking my mail, it just wasn’t there! I almost didn’t have any compulsions or obsessive things I had to do, I loved it! Maybe we should all go live there! ;)

Then the second thing was that I thought that I would have problems with not being able to be alone to collect my thoughts. I need that time when I’m in the Netherlands, otherwise I get very tired and there will be chaos in my head. I even explained to my group that they would probably see me walking away sometimes to be alone. But that happened only twice. And the rest of the time we were together 24/7.

Those two times were even explainable, one had to do with my obsessive thoughts (I explain later). The other was when I had a (small) panic attack because we just went to a place where Joseph Kony (if you’ve seen Kony2012, you know who that is) and his army of children had murdered more than 300 people in less than three hours. So that was just major and very hard to process. I wasn’t the only one who was completely shaken up about that.

So basically, I didn’t have the need to be alone in almost two weeks. I didn’t have to, we talked a lot about what we saw, with the group and I didn’t feel the need to process it on my own anymore.

The third thing was about my obsessive thoughts. I don’t just have thoughts that I dislike, I actually have obsessive thoughts that I like and want to have. When I fully let go of my brain, they come to me and I can dream and dream and dream. And I like it!

But after about five days in Uganda, I realized that I hadn’t ‘let go of my brain’ all that time! So I didn’t have the nice thoughts either (mostly because I didn’t have to, at home it’s once a day at least). And I missed them. And I literally laid down in the grass, by myself, and tried to get them back.

That was a strange thing, because I really didn’t need to ‘let go of my brain’, so there was no need to have those thoughts, but I really missed them! It’s nice, I guess, because that also means that I like the way my head works, sometimes I hate it, but still, I wouldn’t miss it if I didn’t like it!

In the end, the only thing that was different for me than for the other students was that the staff informed me on Saturday night about what we were going to do Sunday afternoon, instead of me hearing it on Sunday at lunch, like anybody else.

For the others it was a surprise, but I knew before what we would do. I thought it was very nice that they told me, and necessary as well, because I would’ve gone crazy if I just heard about it on Sunday as we went to the Joseph Kony mass grave.

Uganda was an amazing experience, and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that I now know that I definitely can go for a longer time and I definitely will!!




  1. u get 2 do so many wonderful things laura…living life must be a dream come tru 4 u. what else do u have comin up?

    • You’ve got to realize that my life is like this since January of this year, it hasn’t always been like this, most of my life I’ve had depressions and stuff like that (I’ve been depressed for over 5 years and later for shorter periods as well). Something changed in me and I ‘just’ diceded to do the things I desperately wanted to do all my life. Because even if you’re depressed, you have dreams. And I decided to make them come true.

      So, right now, life is a dream come true for me, but I’m very aware that this can change at any moment. And I do have rough things as well, even in the last few months, I just don’t write about it ;-) I do sometimes in Dutch, though. My blogs now are just way more cheerfull than a year, even, ago. It’s been a crazy few months for me, and I got to do all the things I’ve always dreamed of, so I guess that’s not really normal, even for me, haha ;)

      I like to see it more like ‘I DO a lot of wonderful things’ instead of ‘I GET TO do a lot of wonderful things’, because I’ve fought for this for over 10 years, and now I do it myself, there’s nothing or no one who just gave this to me, I really fought for this :)

      I try to put it all in one answer, maybe I’ll write a blog about it ;)

      Tomorrow there’ll be one about dreams, so that’s also about this a bit :)

  2. Beautiful pictures! Did you spend your whole time with kids there? BTW, you look like a natural with them…you should adopt! :)

    • Thank you!

      I didn’t spend the whole time with the kids, because I was mostly there to improve the skills of future teachers. So the big goal wasn’t to teach a lot, but to make sure that the future teachers would have better skills to use during their entire carrier. Than you reach way more children than if you just teach yourself.

      And besides that, we went to an organisation called CRO, were they take care of streetchildrend and orphans, in any way they can. So they make sure they get psychological help for their traumas, but they teach them as well. That’s really a place that I fell in love with and I want to go back desperately!

      Haha, who knows, some day ;-) But for now, I just want to go back ;-)

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