At the University of Dallas, we are called to pursue truth, goodness and virtue, and as Catholics, we are called to preach this same truth by our very lives. This past summer, Associate Professor of Accounting Susan Rhame, Ph.D., exemplified this calling by doing mission work in Uganda through an organization called Engage Hope. The group spent 10 days in Uganda, sharing the Gospel and attending to the basic needs of the women and children there.
“We traveled to Uganda for 10 days during July with the goal of ministering to all the women we came in contact with,” said Rhame. “This included assisting in a medical clinic in a slum area of Kampala, as well as traveling to remote villages to pass out rice, beans, posho and Vaseline (for dry skin) while also assisting with a malnutrition outreach. At the malnutrition outreach, 19 babies identified as being in critical condition were transported along with their mothers back to a clinic. We worked all day at that clinic helping the doctors and nurses as they cared for these children. We also shared the Gospel with those attending the medical and malnutrition clinics.”
Encountering such poverty and suffering brought about many challenges, including the sadness of seeing two of the babies they had cared for in the clinic pass away. Yet Rhame still found a certain beauty in the experience: “The greatest blessings included seeing the beautiful smiles on the faces of the children, and being able to help others even if in small ways. This journey showed me how blessed I am, and how grateful I should be every day.”
Not only did this experience reveal to her the ways in which people live on the other side of the globe; it also allowed her to empathize and understand better those she encounters in her daily life as a professor at UD.
“This was my first mission trip to a third-world country,” said Rhame. “I teach graduate accounting courses, and a number of my students are from different countries, including three different countries in Africa. I feel like I have more empathy for communication issues they might have, and I’m truly interested in learning more about their cultures.”
In addition to serving in the clinic, Rhame also participated in a sponsorship program run by Engage Hope that allows individuals to help impoverished children — those who otherwise would not have the chance to receive any schooling—to attend Christian schools. “While on the trip, I had the privilege to meet and become the sponsor for a 12-year-old girl who had been rescued from the slums,” said Rhame. Through the program, Rhame will help this girl receive an education, giving her the opportunity to find a better future.
Now back at UD, having just wound up the fall semester, Rhame still looks forward to doing more mission trips: “I am sure that I will be making this trip again sometime in the future.”