My dear buddies and co travelers
Irio Ber !
Greetings from the “Pearl of Africa”
I raise my tulip champagne glass with a toast to all of you my friends old and new on my Ugandan birthday, some of you who I have drifted away from yet remain silhouettes, many of you whom I have moved closer to and have shared my intriguing journey..most notably my ATP angels .
On 7th of April I completed a year of my Ugandan sojourn and I reflect upon the time I have spent here with great fondness, occasional crestfallenness, moments of glee and insight too.
— When I catch myself smiling , staring into an adorable baby’s eyes, I see hope and a better life and that smile from those limpid dark eyes can remove every sadness in my sometimes despondent heart . Them babies are truly the cutest things on the planet .
–I am caught unaware by simple acts of kindness from a genuine ‘Hi’ to a note saying ” you are lost” meaning you are missed and they haven’t seen you.
–My happy heart surges with joy when I see the beaming smiles of the youth and children …screaming and waving out “mono mono” ( foreigner)
— I do though have fleeting glimpses of what life must have been for these gentle people during the 20 year wars between 1986- 2006, during the LRA crisis and before that the despotic / barbaric rules of Obote and Amin with catastrophic consequences leaving the country paralyzed. It is though the sense of reparation and desire for progress that the Ugandans have that makes them look to better days ….sometimes a boulevard of broken dreams and sometimes the Bohemian Rhapsody.
Yet there are things I wish I could see a change in…. A sense of urgency to do things better, optimum use of limited resources, increased sensitivity towards the disabled, better customer service, an easier life for the women who work so hard to make sure their children don’t go hungry, better use of the money available to build viable sustainable institutions & value chains, stronger accountability frameworks established, animals being treated gentler on their journey to slaughter , promote vegetarianism, include more options on restaurant menus and yes perhaps own my little coffee shop in my lovely Lira 🙂
Few things I have learnt
- That black is truly beautiful
- That the pleasures of walking are limitless
- That having a garden is priceless
- That cooking can be therapeutic and thanks to my angels for the quick tips
- That everyday is a time to appreciate and be grateful for the material gifts I have
- That I do enjoy Fish Stew ( tho I am a vegetarian, claiming fish is vegetarian in Assam )
- Sit with chickens in public transport and not be afraid….well still getting there
- Be less finicky as life is just too short to fuss over and that really everything issssOK
- That life throws curveballs at you, but you can run and catch it and win the match !! The wheel of Karma rolls on.
So I continue with my fascination of this remarkable country and the dark continent , but above all I express my deepest gratitude to my beloved India for teaching me to appreciate a new culture and its people and gain the spirit of service with clinical detachment.
And I know once I am gone, life and its myriad hues will continue in Uganda but perhaps a few will remember me fondly and say PG was here. But wooo hoooo I am not gone….Another year of happiness and a state of discernment 🙂
We begin our 2nd intake of students in May for the next 6 months and hoping our gender & disability strategies, income generation, post training support programs are purposeful. Economic recovery will probably speed up with the discovery of oil and increased focus on tourism, education & health. Hopefully predatory capitalism will be decades away.
Come visit.. .”.You are most welcome ” For more info on travel in Uganda follow this http://www.visituganda.com/
Health , Happiness , Prosperity to your friends & families around the world
Thanks for reading!!
Apwoyo Matek , Dhanyawad!