Some of the children in Uganda at the orphanage have had the opportunity recently to visit the land we have purchased for them. The land previously had been rented out to people to use for growing food on it. Adams and Elitia purchased the harvest from them. When the children visited the land they were prepared to dig up sweet potatoes and red potatoes to bring home to the family for dinner.
I can only imagine the excitement they felt as they walked through the property which will become their home one day.
I hope when I am in Uganda this trip that I have a little block of time to take the journey out to see the land for myself. It’s over an hour outside of town. If a Ugandan says it’s an hour, an American ought to figure it’s a three hour trip then be pleasantly surprised when it’s just over two.
Craig and I were laughing the other day while we went to Costco to stock up on food they will prepare for themselves while I am absent. I told him, you know we are squeezing this errand in between church and lunch, but in Uganda it would be the only thing we would accomplish that day, and it would be satisfying. As unproductive as that sounds, it’s partly what I love about being there. The rush to do more simply doesn’t exist there. No one looks at their watch jumpy to move on to the next activity.
We occupy the moment we are in, and it is always shared with someone. Loneliness isn’t a common condition in Uganda. People are together everywhere, sharing their lives, living in community, and taking care of each other. They know something we don’t.
Here we travel in the bubble of our own cars. We keep a broad circle around our personal space. Rarely we pick up conversation with someone we don’t know. (unless you are me, I do it all the time) We go home where there are walls and fences that keep us from ever knowing our neighbors. Our self sufficiency is a disease.
When I asked Kevin what he misses about the six weeks we spent in Uganda last Christmas he said, the community of having friends drop by all the time. The card games on the back porch that could just happen. Always having someone fun around is what he missed most.
I might be traveling alone, but I won’t be left alone like I am in my American life. And here’s a sad example of what I mean by that. Jack rides his bike home from school every day, and one day he got a little careless coming down the big hill and had a wipeout. He ripped a four inch piece of skin off his forearm. He called me, but I was on the phone. (By the time I hung up and called back he was not answering) When he got home I asked him, “did anyone drive by and offer to help you?” He said six cars drove by but no one stopped.
People!, who drives by a ten year old in their own neighborhood who has just fallen on his bike? What has happened to us?
I’m happy to be joining the community that says, “you are welcome” everywhere I turn. They do not say that in response to my thanks, but are inviting me into their lives.