Rachel Hamilton

Author | Writer | Traveler | Child of God | Kiwi Girl

Joyful Journey.

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I’ve been back in Uganda just over a week now. Such joyful days. Days pass by in a happy blur. Dishes, dirty nappies, cuddles, warm welcomes, baby laughs, bumpy bus rides.

Coming to Uganda for the second time has been everything I dreamed of and more.

My heart overflows.

I feel so loved, so welcomed and so wanted.

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of Africa.

Dreamed that one day I would be loving little babies in Africa.

Each year the pull of Africa grew stronger.

15 years old I listened to a couple talk of their time in Africa.

I felt deep in my heart I would go..

At 17 I saw the Watoto choir perform.

I felt a deep calling to volunteer with Watoto at the babies home.

But I was too young.

Finally I turned 19, this must be the year I thought.

Still the door was closed tight.

Instead I went on a mission ship, sailing from Dubai, to Sri Lanka and India. Three wonderful months of well cleaning, volunteering at a boys home, rasing awareness for HIV and Aids and so much more.

I came home with renewed passion to serve.

More years past.

Still the door was closed.

Then I got really sick, the doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong.

All my dreams of Africa came crashing down.

Finally I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Two years I struggled with daily pain, no job, little hope, but still Africa called me.

My family and I moved to Australia.

My health improved a little I started a full time job at a beautiful Hotel, a place I imagined myself long term.

The dream of Africa started to fade.

I was comfortable, happy, settled.

But things happened.

Suddenly I could no longer work at the place, I adored.

I cried.

My life was a mess.

Africa called.

I looked into trips but door was still shut.

So I traveled to Cambodia and Thailand.

Saw the realities of sex trafficking and child slavery.

It broke me but also gave me passion to do my part to help.

A month past.

I got a new job.

I whispered to God, “Am I ready for Africa yet? I’ve waited so so long.”

I heard yes.

I couldn’t believe it.

So I applied to Watoto.

I nervously waited to hear if I was accepted.

Maybe this would be just another closed door.

The door opened wide.

I arrived in Uganda.

For the first month I struggled so much, I couldn’t understand why God had called me to come. I felt unworthy.

The remaining two months were wonderful, I fell in love with the country and people.

Weeks turned to days and before I knew it, I was going home.

But Africa still called.

As the plane left Africa.

I knew I would be back soon.

I arrived home.

Settled back into work, everyday life.

But day and night all I could think about was coming back to Uganda August/September this year.

I reapplied to Watoto.

Would the door close?

It stayed open.

Every tiny detail came together and here I am.

This journey has been long, it’s been painful.

But I wouldn’t trade anything for the path I walked.

I still don’t know the reason I am here or why Africa is so much a part of me.

After these two months I don’t know if it’s possible to come back again.

The door may close.

But for now, I’m making every moment count and embracing the joy of this wonderful journey.

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