Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Fear of Africa

Do something everyday that scares you. How often have you read that? Motivational... humm, I find that questionable. Yet too often in life we don’t take chances. We do what we know, what is safe, what is within our natural boundaries.
I’ll have a few housemates when I’m in Uganda this November/December. Two of whom I spent time with tonight. In discussing Africa, Martha turned to me early on and pointed this question:
“Is there anything you’re afraid of?” she led with promise.
Without hesitation the only answer that jumped into my head was, “The shots.”
It felt like a round table. Both Jim and Martha had already been. Jim more then once. Martha confessed before she went she was afraid of everything. Upon her return, the only scary thing she claimed from her time in Uganda was the traffic. The drivers. Jim’s salutation of a Ugandan driver was picture perfect.
He described their agility. Growing up as hunters. Stalking. Moving like a gazelle. Now put that individual behind a wheel of a car and they think they can do anything.
While poverty is rampant so is corruption. When help arrives, there’s a realization that the big picture can’t easily be fixed. 
“You can’t imagine how they keep their spirit up. Their life is a landmine,” shutters Martha. She later spoke about what we have here. “Things are so different. We have no challenges. No ability to really help create change. No adventures.”
I’m already thinking I should be taking my 18 year-old son with me.
Then Jim’s warning was sounded.
“You never go to Africa once,” he claims. “With Africa you end up getting connected. You make connections with people that add meaning to your life.”
I settle home to sit and write this and continually ponder to myself, why would anyone be afraid to go to Africa?

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