The end of my internship is fast approaching and I’m currently in a state of denial. The type where shy young children play peek-a-boo thinking “if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me!”.
Unfortunately this technique does not work with a calendar. Whether or not I refuse to look at one, November will soon be over and December will be staring at me in the face.
The week before last I spent a few days in Uganda. I think it was a sub-conscious effort to escape the inevitability of leaving Africa and answer questions about the future.
It was a breath of fresh air – literally and figuratively. I was fortunate to be hosted by the IJM Uganda interns, who showed me good times around Kampala and Jinja.
I think I have a crush on Uganda. It’s one of those rose-tinted glass crushes. The ones where you think you’re an expert after a few days and “everything is beautiful”. Crush or not, the lush green vegetation reminded me a little of Nigeria and even Vanuatu.
I was enchanted by offices and homes nestled amongst hills.
Another major reason I’m a little infatuated with Uganda is the cohesion of the expat community there. Whilst there’s a huge expat community in Nairobi, a lot of them tend to live in a different part of the city. Also, not having a car, limits our ability (and motivation) to get around – especially when night travel is a bit on the risky side. Not so with Kampala! The folks there travel all sorts of places at night on boda-bodas (motorbike taxis); and it felt like there were more opportunities to plug-in.
I’ve been reflecting and ruminating over my experience in Kenya/East Africa over the past 11 months. I would have to admit that this place has taken a little piece of my heart. That tends to happen most places I go – there’s a tiny piece of me in Port Vila, New Orleans and now Kenya mixed with Uganda & Ethiopia. It’s strange though – life here is not always plane-sailing. You will not always be happy. Terrorist threats don’t make me leap for joy, neither does thinking about potential armed robberies or abject poverty. But there is something here that is well with my soul. The hope of progress; the beautiful innovation despite bizarre, perplexing circumstances; the amazing people pouring out their lives to help others; the welcoming anonymity I feel as I finally look.like.everybody.elese.
I guess it’s just that I’ve fallen in love a little bit with this place.