It seems I am still digesting all the lessons I learned from our trip to Uganda in February. We’ve been back for six months and I feel like I am still learning.
One day on our trip Michelle needed to go to the local market to buy some new shoes for the boys at the home (either the shoes were cheaply made or those kids were rough with their shoes). I decided to go along with her and made the mistake of forgetting my camera, I regret that decision to this day.
At the market we wandered down one of the aisles until we came to a stand that sold shoes. This particular market was outdoor (as opposed to the food one we had been to a few days ago that had a roof overhead) and this stand (and all the ones around it) was built from very old wooden boards this lots of cracks showing through. The whole stand was probably only about 7 feet long by 6 feet wide and all you could see inside was the shop owner and rows of black shoes. Some of the shoes appeared to be in good condition while others looked like they were rejects from Value Village.
While Michelle tried to find a couple of good pairs of shoes I took a look at my surroundings and that’s when I saw her. A little girl about three or four years old standing there shyly staring at me with her big brown eyes. I smiled her and she bashfully turned away, as she turned I saw what she had on her back -she had a blanket wrapped around her like you would often see the mother’s wearing and they would have a child tucked in the shawl around their back, well, where most women would have a baby, she had her “baby”, except this was no baby. It was a pair of pants that was stuffed with who knows what as a substitute for a doll.
I just wanted to wrap that little girl up in my arms and give her a real doll, unfortunately I couldn’t.
The thing is, this girl looked fairly content. I don’t know many three year old children that when asking for a doll would be fine with a pair of pants to play with.
It is partly because of this girl that I have felt the need to live a more simplified life and minimize the amount of stuff that I have.
I was pointed to Jess’ blog a few weeks ago and really liked her idea of Throw out 50 Things. Essentially, go through your house and sell, donate or throw away 50 items. I got on it a few weeks ago and found that it was so much easier than I was expecting. I’m a bit of a hoarder, and it has been feeling really good to purge, and not nearly as hard as I was expecting. I’m definitely not stopping at 50 things but it was a fun challenge to get me going again.
Just some of the things I’ve been getting rid of (and I’ve still got more to go):
I’ve come across others that are on a similar journey right now, a journey to just being content with less, and I think it is a lesson that will take me a while to learn. The hard part will to make sure I don’t replace these items with more stuff. I have started to try to implement the one-for-one rule, when I get something new, I get rid of something. If I get a new shirt I get rid of an item that I don’t use, need or want but for some reason have been holding on to. It has been a learning curve in a society that tells us we need more, more, more, but one that I have felt very necessary.
If you are on a similar journey I would love to hear from you!