Making a difference while traveling the world

Starting Over

I recently met a humble and inspiring woman, named Karin Carlson, who I was lucky enough to shadow for a new job I’ve just started. At 61-years-old, Karin’s found a new calling in life. She’s a much different person today than she was a few years ago when her world was turned upside-down.

She and her husband divorced after being married for 35 years. She found herself in her mid-50s lost and lonely. Her friend offered her an idea to help her out of her rut – go with her to Kaihura, Uganda to volunteer for Bringing Hope to the Family – an organization that runs an orphanage, a medical clinic, a vocational school, an elementary school, sustainable livelihood projects and a child welfare program. She agreed to it. When asked what skills she could offer, Karin said she had administrative experience from helping her ex-husband build his business. But when she got to Uganda – change of plans. The organizers asked her if she was afraid of blood. She decided to take the challenge and became a dental assistant, helping pull teeth and repair smiles.

Karin working at the HopeAgain dental clinic

That trip left an imprint on Karin’s heart.

“I had never seen anything like the poverty, and yet the people had joy. It showed me that you don’t need things to be happy. It also got me outside of my own head and my own problems as a result of my divorce, and made me feel like a worthwhile person again.”

Karin’s newfound passion for serving the poor in Uganda brought her to Bringing Hope to the Family a second time – this time, she worked with children in the orphanage and helped build a beauty salon with teenage girls who were learning how to do hair and massages to become self-sustaining.

She’s going back for the third time next summer. Karin considers this community in Uganda her second home…and strongly considers making it that permanently one day.

“I am 61-years-old and a grandmother of 3. It’s pretty interesting to ‘start over’ at this point in life, but I think it’s a great way to go.”

Karin and her friends at Bringing Hope to the Family

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Comments on: "Starting Over" (2)

  1. Karin Carlson said:

    Thank you, Jessica. I am honored

  2. I know and love Karin. Her painful journey has been heartwrenching for those of us who are privileged to be her friends. She didn’t deserve what life handed her, but she has taken her broken pieces and built something beautiful out of them. We admire her for that. Her work in Uganda is changing lives, including her own, and will be, I believe, her proudest achievement of all. Thank you for sharing her inspirational story. She is such a great role model and gives us all hope that we can overcome even the worst in life through love, faith and generosity.

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