When a Marshalltown woman helped an 11-year-old mother in Uganda last year it changed her life so much that she will travel across the world to do it again.
In one week, Nina Cox will take a 26-hour flight to help more young women for 10 days in the third world country.
"I guess I'm hooked," Cox said. "It changed me last year a lot."
T-R PHOTO BY STEPHANIE IVANKOVICH
Nina Cox holds photos from her trip to Uganda that she took last year. One of her favorite photos is of Estelle, an 11-year-old girl and her son. Cox enjoyed helping Estelle and the other girls out by teaching them to cook and style hair. Cox will return to Uganda this month.
Last January, Cox and two other local women went on a mission trip with ChildVoice, a nonprofit, that works to restore the war-torn East African country and was founded by former Marshalltown natives Neil and Conrad Mandsager. While she was there she helped young women who were affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
"They're so grateful for everything we do for them and it's my way of helping in a war-torn area," Cox said. "The things we did were simple stuff, it wasn't some big glorious to do. We went in and helped them cook, go to church with them, it was just simple stuff we did but it meant a lot of the people working with them and to the girls."
Upon her return to Uganda, she will continue to help the girls, but stay at the ChildVoice center with them, instead of the guest house she stayed in last year.
"We will be sleeping in mud huts instead of in a guest house so it will be a whole different experience for us," Cox said. "Because of that we will be there after dark, all night long, at the same place the girls will be so we will have more time with them. I'm looking forward to that."
Cox has not kept in touch with the girls since she left. She said ChildVoice doesn't recommend it because sometimes they found some of the girls try to get in contact with the volunteers to bring them over.
"I have kept in contact with the ChildVoice founder," Cox said. "Kind of through the grape vine we hear about them but we're not suppose to directly stay in contact."
Cox departs to Uganda Jan. 18 and will return Feb. 1.
"It's something everyone needs to experience getting out into a third world country and see how the majority of the people live rather than just the people in the United States," Cox said. "We are blessed beyond what we know. It's an amazing experience."
After this trip, Cox said there's a good chance she'll return to Uganda.
"It won't be the last time I'm sure," Cox said.