So many people I met and experiences I had, changed my perspective, challenged my preconceived ideas, and fueled my passion for seeing and understanding more of the world. And my perspective changed, not of just Africa and its people, but the world in general. Really diving into and trying to understand the complexity of colonization and what happened to countries after they were given their autonomy, fascinated me.

When Europe divided Africa up, they didn’t consider tribes and people groups. They just claimed territory, natural resources, and water ways. Once Africa had finally been divided up and claimed by the colonizing countries, tribes were divided, enemies united under one flag, and millions enslaved. And though African colonization only lasted about 70 years, it did a huge amount of damage.

As I talked to people and observed the culture, I realized that the governments in the countries of Africa were still struggling, even in this post-colonization time. They were given back the running and ruling of their countries, but are still dealing with corruption, financial dependence, and uniting their different tribes and people groups.

However, there is hope!

Anti-corruption laws are being passed, young people are rising up and asking for change, and citizens are becoming fiercely proud of their country, land, and communities.

The people of Africa made a huge impact on me. Their warmth, joy, and love for each other was a stark contrast to the poverty and daily struggle that large majority of them experience daily.

I saw faith, hope, and compassion everywhere I turned.

Connecting with them, attempting to communicate, and just laughing together reminded me that we all can live life to the fullest, no matter our circumstances.

Nowhere was faith, hope, and compassion more evident than Bandawe School for the Hearing Impaired. This was a school dedicated to the kids that would normally be shuttered and marginalized. At Bandawe, they were taught to read and write, how to communicate with the hearing world, and most importantly, were taught skills that would help them support themselves and their families financially.

Though the students and teachers struggled with poverty, their joy overcame their hardships.

Everywhere I turned on my trip up the east side of Africa challenged my perspectives. The people, places, situations, and experiences made me want to understand more about the past and present perspectives of the African people.

The faith, hope, and compassion I saw challenged me to increase my faith, hope, and compassion.