Thursday, 25 November 2010

Uganda Wishes - The Flip Side

Needed to get out of Kampala for a bit. My room mate at Mengo Hospital, Jennifer and I took a bus trip to see the Murchison Falls.
Once outside Kampala you get a feel for Uganda. For Africa. Lush green countryside with intermittent cement or brick homes. Palm trees. Smooth roads. Termite mounds. No forests. Long grasses. She breaths. Police checkpoints.
I leave my computer behind.
Roadside markets. Vegetables. Tomatoes piled in pyramids. They make do with what they have. No dwelling on what they don’t have. Clearly there is acceptance for what is.
Further away, rolling hills. Cows lie down on the side of the road. Goats eat tethered up. Cell phone towers stand up. Wells pump water into yellow Jerry cans. Children line up and wait. I ask myself at one point. Have I been here before? Maybe in another life?
Bananas are everywhere. Bundles of green bananas laden bicycles. It’s amazing what can be carried.
Garbage is burned. Smouldering plastics.
Walking roadside I see many. Where are they going? No one speaks.  A young girl in a purple dress waves as we drive by. Does she know us?
You feel the country. I see Africa now. Huts crop up as we get deeper. Clay round huts with straw roofs. Children standing naked at the door. Bright coloured laundry hangs outside.
Out of nowhere “God is Great” is painted onto a roadside building.
Corn grows in front yards. More traffic police. Today my family seems a world away.
Bicycles lean on kickstands at the side of the road - alone.
Boda-bodas are washed in streams. Men piss freely into the ditches. 
These are only my casual observations.
Women laden heavy on their heads move to the side for car horns. Horns honk a lot. No one gives you the finger.
Soon we see baboons. Slowly they cross the road. A red road. One road - two tire treads. Red dust. Oncoming drivers flick their lights to say hello. No police now.
We’ve reached a wildlife refuge.
It’s a poem of nature.
This is my respect for Uganda. Protection of their wildlife.
We look beyond ourselves when we come to Africa. You see the outside then when you spend time you get in on the inside. With a naked eye.
We roam Murchison Falls. I ask our guide for his wish for Uganda today.

Discipline, stamina, knowledge, skills for social and economic transformation (shirt back).
“To stay in peace,” he says. “Especially with the politics of Uganda. Peace forever. Not to keep grumbling for leadership. The tourism industry needs it to be a peaceful country.”
His answer is the same for his wish for the world.
We’re dropped off to the Red Chilli Rest Area where we’ll be camped out in tents. All of a sudden the full orange moon appears. Like magic. Round, just like the world.
Only love will heal the wounded.
Only love will heal this world.
Only love.
Here is the other side of Africa.

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