This blogpost is part of a series related to a joint UUA/UUSC JustJourney to Uganda. In this blogpost Constance Kane, UUSC’s vice president and COO, reflects on the first leg of the Uganda JustJourney, moved and inspired by the people she has met and the stories she has heard. We have completed the first leg of our JustJourney. It has been a profoundly moving trip, rich with testimony of deep and previous wrongs as well as rebuilding, repairing, and envisioning an empowered future. We have learned firsthand about the atrocities committed in northern Uganda and listened to heartbreaking testimonies of abductions, years of subsistence living in the bush, and deaths of mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. We have felt the shame of having been part of this long-forgotten conflict. But peace in northern Uganda is now at hand. Families have returned to their villages, schools are being built, children are beginning to feel safe again, and people are starting to earn their own livelihoods again. We visited villages which are alive with the energy of optimism, moving from owning one goat to five, one ox to two oxen and a plow — all indications of growth and rebirth. We have spoken with villagers, government representatives, and university and school teachers, and each conveys a singularly consistent message: we believe in ourselves and the future of Uganda. The times of handouts and foreign aid are winding down, and Ugandans are ready to steer their own future. So we leave humbled and hopeful — humbled by what the people of northern Uganda have endured and hopeful because we know their future is in their very capable hands.