Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Gift of Life

As I left the Nova Travel Clinic the nurse touched my arm and looked sternly into my eyes, “You know there’s a problem with Africa.”
“Oh?” I responded thinking to myself - which one might she be referring to?
“Africa gets under your skin,” she continued. “Most people have to go back again.”
I’m off to Uganda for six weeks November 2. To volunteer at the Mengo Hospital. To document the hope of the Ugandan people. (See Uganda Bound.) A project I’ve fondly named Uganda Wishes.
N.B. I am also working on an on-line auction to raise funds for the project – stay tuned!
Tonight I meet up with some of the Board members for the Mengo Hospital Canada. Edward is the special guest. He’s from Kampala the capital of Uganda. I discuss with him my ideas for stories and documentaries. He shifts his stance to look and me and he explains slowly that I really need to understand first the story. Meaning, let them tell you.
Then I ask him, “What makes you smile?”
He talks about his faith. Life here and now and the after life. Then he speaks about his visit to Canada and what he sees. He notices wealth, everywhere. All around. But he asks, “Are people happy?”
In Uganda he explains, owning a vehicle is a luxury. Here a necessity. With choices of big or small.
We go on to chatter about joy and what brings us joy. He smiles when he talks about his relationships with neighbours, people he works with, his wife. All around support. The joy in his life.
I emphasize to him my ideas for documenting the hope of the Ugandans, for inspiration and engagement to the world. Enough of the poverty, AIDS and orphans. What makes people happy? Where do they find their HOPE in a day?
“Your eyes can only see what you don’t have,” he reflects. Then he says, “You can’t buy laughter with money.”
How true. How very true. 

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