Mustn't Grumble

Elspeth Dugdale | January 31, 2016

Mustn't Grumble
Find the Smile

Hope, optimism, certainty of a better future and resilience - these are a few of the characteristics that many notice in conversations and interaction with friends and individuals in Uganda. It is a common 'takeaway' from team trips to WTA. Despite seemingly impossible challenges, difficulties and personal bereavement and tragedy, there is always the sense that life is good. Sometimes it is really hard to understand or grasp, coming, as we all do, from 'the outside'.

The above photo is taken from a talk called 'Find the Smile' that I gave at a remote primary school, located 'deep within' in the bush about 45 minutes 'in' from WTA - it really did seem in the middle of nowhere. I asked each child and teacher to line their hands up and put two palms together to locate 'the smile' in their hands. (Everyone has a smile in their hands - so try it!) It caused great amusement and created a lot of shrieking and delight at the time. Of course the point of the talk is something really that we have all learnt from being in Uganda - there is always something to smile about. Rather a contrast to a 'mustn't grumble, could be worse' outlook.


The school was relatively poorly resourced, with a few dedicated teachers and hundreds of small children. Yet another school serving a remote community. But the teachers were full of faith and optimism, a certainty that the school was doing a good job, that they had been very blessed already with what they have and that they have nothing to fear. It was a short visit of about an hour - but as usual one comes away with the sense of having learnt and gained far more than we gave. That is always the case. In Uganda they say often' God is good -  all the time. All the time, God is good.... for that is his nature!' Whether we share their faith aspect or not, we can learn much from Uganda's great optimism and immense hope for better and brighter days.