I had been looking forward for along time to volunteer with the Muse Uganda program, examining in from afar. When I first entered the school I was naturally filled with expectations. I immediately found the students smiling faces excited to meet me and looking around I saw the walls around me covered with paintings and art crafts made by the students. The students introduced themselves and their work and apologized that they were still learning, although their art would not shame professional artists.

After making our acquaintances the students escorted me to the Nazareth kindergarten not far away. I entered the kindergarten and received once again a warm welcome – the children jumped on me in excitement, ran to off to play and then formed a circle to sing together with their charming teacher Angela a song about todays activities and the months of the year.

 My first day in the volunteer program was extremely touching. I felt that in one day alone I received so much love from everyone. I was filled with energy and the challenges suddenly seemed insignificant. The children and gifted students I met entered my heart deeply, which brought me to the decision I want to continue being involved in the program and help find the next volunteers to go on this exceptional journey, to help the youth in Muse Uganda and learn something about opening one’s heart, to smile – even when things don’t seem to be working as we planned.

The mutual learning alongside the cultural divides have made this a once in a lifetime experience that helped me discover I have the ability to smile a true he artful smile, to take care of others and share what I have with those around me. These are the insights I now take with me anywhere I go.