- Robin Winkles
A Sense of Belonging
It is with great pleasure that I step into my role as Board President for Fields of Dreams Uganda. It was only two and half years ago that I first went to Uganda, and I was completely unprepared for the way the nation and its people would take hold of my heart. Since that time, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to Uganda four times, with my fifth trip coming up next month and my sixth coming up this summer. It has captivated me so completely, I’ve pretty much abandoned all thoughts of traveling anywhere else in the world. :)
When I talk to people about Uganda, the passion I have for the nation and its people is evident in such a way that I’m often asked, “So when do you plan on moving there?” That’s a question that, five years ago, would’ve made me laugh out loud. I have always been a creature of habit, sticking to my routines, living quietly in the safety of my own comfort zones. The thought of doing any work in a developing nation was never on my radar. And then I went to Uganda. It was during my second trip there, while I was walking down the dirt roads of a small neighborhood in the capital city of Kampala that a sense of belonging came over me - and I’m not going to lie - it scared me to death. To feel at home, at peace, comfortable, in a land so far away from my home, so different in every possible way - it shook my entire world. And I’ve never looked back.
Though there is a sense of belonging in the nation I love amidst the people I love, moving there is simply not an option. Not because of anything I’d miss out on here, but because of what the people of Uganda would miss out on if I were there. While I cherish every minute I spend in that beautiful nation in eastern Africa, the truth is that I can do far more for its people from here.
Here, I can travel to national soccer conventions to seek out partnerships that will help our great soccer programming in Uganda grow. Here, I can meet with local soccer clubs, get our organization name put on club uniforms, raise both money and awareness for the cause we so proudly support. Here, I can head up an annual 5K race that raises money for hygiene kits for every single one of the girls at our partner schools. Here, I can tell the stories and show the pictures that will encourage my friends, family, and others I come in contact with to join me on an adventure of a lifetime, an adventure that promises to change the world, one Ugandan at a time.
My impact here is far greater than anything I could ever do in Uganda. It’s here where the real work happens. Consider me ready and proud to take on the job.