We are all the Same

Last night I blogged about how the Ugandan women enjoyed a good laugh at our expense. All in good fun of course! I thought it’d be only fair if we also shared how we enjoyed a good laugh watching them.


Sarah and I enjoyed two visits in our new friend, Janet’s home in the village near the guest house where we stayed. To enter a home with no glass windows to close, no electricity, only a couple rooms in total to house a family of 12, no running water, and little luxuries or conveniences seems at first as if we’ve entered a different world. Not just a different country.


But then as we visited with Janet, Sarah and I continually had to turn to each other and laugh. The homes and clothes may be different – but we could easily have been watching a scene from either one of our homes.


The struggle to get her kids dressed in time for school.


The youngest not wanting to go to school and pretending not to hear mom.


The twenty-something daughters complaining they have nothing to wear and apologizing for taking so long to get ready as they had to try on everything.


The same young adult children shared their photo albums with us – full of images of their friends. Complete with a few ink drawings to certain friends photos that they must have had an argument with. Perhaps boy problems.


The young daughter getting scolded for dropping food on the floor.

"Have you brushed your teeth?" asked about 15times to a child who can suddenly not hear you. 


Our first visit wasn’t planned – we had simply starting taking with Janet and she invited us in. The house was fine – but there was some laundry on the chair, and the floor had some remnants of life still in view. When we came back the next morning for a planned visit – the floor was swept, the shoes that were scattered the day before were lined neatly at the door, no laundry in sight and a tablecloth was on the table.


Siblings fighting.


Janet wanted a photo with us – but disappeared first. She came back a couple minutes later with her hair done and ready for her photo.


The teenage girl who was laughing and joking one minute, and hiding her face embarrassed from the camera the next.


Life happening. Just like life is happening around the world – women caring for their families, themselves  and their homes.



As I mentioned, this time it was our turn to laugh – not because they did anything wrong… but because they did so much familiar to us that we had done a million times before. We are not so different after all. 

outside Janet's home...

Inside her home after she has tidied up and prepared for us! 

Janet's youngest daughter Deborah - which means fighter as she and Janet both almost lost their lives in childbirth. She is the 9th child Janet gave birth to. One son has passed away. Janet also has two orphans (parents died from AIDS) who she cares for and considers her own children now. Every day in Uganda it is estimated 16 women die in childbirth related complications. 

Janet's second oldest daughter, Daisy, all ready for a day of training at her job as a nurse at Baby Watoto in Gulu. Took her several tries, but I think she found a great outfit. :-)

Janet and Daisy. Janet's oldest daughter, Palma, is 23 (not shown). Janet's youngest daughter is 3. Twenty years of giving birth. 

Sarah and Janet.... not so different after all!

I read a book once called "We are all the Same" - a powerful story of one young boy's life with AIDS in South Africa. A child ranked fifth among the greatest South Africans of all time. You can read more about him HERE or the book info is HERE. Part of his moving speech at the International AIDS conference fits perfectly with our thoughts: 

We are all the same.

We are not different from one another.

We all belong to one family.

We love and we laugh, we hurt and we cry, we live and we die.

Care for us and accept us.  We are all human beings.  We are normal.  We have hands.  We have feet.  We can walk, we can talk -- and we have needs like just like everyone else.  Don't be afraid of us.

We are all the same.


  • Irem

    What an incredible and inrsiping story. I am currently reading a book about a similar woman in Ethiopia. The book is called There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Green, and the woman she profiles, Haregwoin, also is mother to dozens of AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.It is truly inrsiping to read about regular, everyday people like this who decide they can’t look the other way, but that in fact there IS something they can do to make a difference to children and they DO IT. They don’t say, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time. They simply act from the heart.Thank you for sharing this story.Shelley

  • Mark

    Wow – does that ever sound familiar…except for the 20 years of childbearing.

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