hi kids, it's been about a month since you've heard from this guy, and we've had a lot of action over here. the following post is actually from a letter i wrote to a family member. i hope that member will forgive me for giving her the same message twice, but i thought it worth posting (i may be wrong about this).
The people...the people are kind and unkind, selfless and selfish, misunderstood and full of misunderstanding, healthy and diseased, each day smiling and each day weeping. perhaps similar to how we are in the states, maybe though with some drastic, and not always desirable, extremes. it is so amazing getting to know families and personalities I could never before have imagined. it is an honor to begin to understand simple pleasures; talking under the mango tree, a bumpy ride through swamp lands, planting crops, or separating peanuts from their shells and skin (i think similar to Biblical references about separating the wheat from the chaff). these are good things that i tend to rush, but that the people here take time with and give importance to. no hurry. my heart has been moved to brokenness many times, both by joy and by pain, by events and happenings I don't claim to understand, nor do i know if i ever will; seeing the girls run, in full contentment, in a track race with no shoes and on an uneven grass track which they cut by hand; hearing the African harp and drums during the church services. but also, seeing 3 children on the street drinking dirt-filled water, hearing the countless stories of families that have lost children in what many would consider avoidable circumstances. i really am trying to get beyond myself, but this isn't always easy. there are days when i get angry. i get angry at the way the girls are treated-doing most the work, kneeling, standing, carrying water, eating last, preparing meals-while many men sit idly by. i get angry at how i think some people are only interested in what i can give them. i get angry at myself; why didn't i seek understanding? why didn't i help? why didn't i put that person before myself? what use am i? am i really even helping?...but there are days of amazement and happiness too. like the day 2 Ugandan men ran with me for 8 kilometers, or the day all the girls gave me high-fives as they finished their run, or the day i saw the little girl with the pink hibiscus flower staring at me-yellow pollen covering her dark face as she had been smelling the flower using the full-face technique! again, let me say that I'm not claiming to understand all, or any of this fully, but perhaps experience is a step towards this understanding.
on a different note, i had a 20 minute conversation with myself about whether, if Gatorade sponsored Uganda, if mango would be the official flavor or not.
we had our all-volunteer-conference last week near kampala. all 130ish volunteers gathered for 5 days of meeting, catching up, idea sharing, and refreshment. it was really an excellent time. prior to the meeting, our country director sent out an email saying this event was supposed to be professional. well, there's only one way i know how to be professional, so my buddy and i decided we had better sport mustaches for the event. let me say, once a shaved into this 'stach, i immediately began to creep myself out. at the meeting, we were paired up in groups for some activity and i was paired with a girl i had never met before. right away i could tell she did not want to be my partner. people, this is the type of racial profiling that will be our downfall.
we had the district track meet the other day. amazing. this would be equivalent to our regional meet at the high school level, where the students were trying to qualify for nationals. the track was grass, uneven, cut by hand, and prompted no complaints from the people. i saw some boys and girls put up incredible times, that college coaches would definitely be interested in. my favorite events were definitely the distance events, where one of the girls just went buck wild on the competition and absolutely dropped the hammer on some girls. besides that though, the high jump was amazing. there are no mats, so they just put down sand and then let the students jump over the bar however they can. as soon as the students hit the ground you could tell it hurt. one dude was bleeding, i think a couple wanted to cry...awesome!
let me end by reiterating the fact that i don't understand a lot, even of what i write. i observe, at times participate, but mostly question. maybe there's a lot for me to figure out. maybe i never will. but i at least want to try. i don't always do a great job at this.
A Wee Dram O' Ruxpin Muggle
4 days ago