Beth Uhlig 2012

How can you survive two weeks in Africa without your luggage?

There’s really no secret to it. You just do, when it happens to you.

I was a little intimidated the first night, after such a long day (or two days??) of traveling. I stood in the Nairobi airport late at night, the minutes dragging longer and longer as I waited for that obnoxious lime green suitcase to finally scoot around the corner on that taunting black belt. This was normal, I told myself. I always have to wait forever for my suitcase to show up. It’s just my luck.

But right now I’m convinced that it wasn’t luck that caused my suitcase to get lost, but God’s will, even a blessing.

I was amazed by how much I didn’t need. I had planned and started collecting what I would need in Africa for months in advance. I packed and repacked my suitcase twice to make sure I had everything I needed. And I thought that was the bare minimum.

So during those two weeks, I lived on my backpack that I carried on the plane, $15 of essentials I got at the Nakumatt (the Kenyan Walmart), and the generosity of my teammates.

And I was never lacking. Ever.

People kept telling me they were impressed that I didn’t complain. But there was no way I could complain on a mission trip in Africa. The monetary value of what I had in my backpack probably totaled more than most of those families had to their names…. Sometimes I was embarrassed by how rich I am.

I got to learn a whole new perspective of the blessing of the privileged life I’ve been given. And I learned about what’s vital and what’s not. And how many things are just… things. Stuff that I surround myself with and try to find my security in.

I have never lived for two weeks with so little, but I have never lived two weeks feeling like I had so much.

-Elizabeth Uhlig- Baylor ’15