Monday, 13 December 2010

Uganda Wishes – Border Towns

Please note: this post was originally written December 7.

At the Congo/Uganda border
The winds arrive then the rain leaves. The start of the dry season. So it has been heard. The winds warped the tent most of the night. I lay awake a good long while listening.
The men are hustling this morning to get the roof trusses up and beat the mid-day sun. Eight of them carry the trusses. The morning goes by. Rollers brush on a primer paint for the facing boards.
Congo/Uganda border market
I look out for Wilson who promised to take me to the Congo border market. Both Colleen and I hop on a boda-boda together. In the Congo trucks are loaded four stories high. Women cater to their heads carrying food and fuel. There’s a line-up for the fuel. Plastic water bottles fill to the brim with gasoline. Wilson says for lights. The roads amongst this town look like something out of a Western movie. A truck drives through and sinks deep. Pop bottles rattle in the back as the driver tries to meander out.
We stop for a soda after visiting the Congo market material row. A brilliant show of colourful material ready to be sewn into a lavish dress. Rows of food, salt even and flour. The sight is unseen before my eyes.
Salt for sale...
I don’t last long with the hustle and soon spin back. At PODA’s camp in Bwera I get asked again, “Is there religion in Canada?"
Do these people know their destiny I think to myself? Probably not. Who does? But for many, to carry on – it’s their faith that keeps them going.
I sit with Moses, a teacher. I pose the Uganda Wishes question on him. What is your wish for Uganda today?
“I hope it to be ok,” he says. “Bit of a problem in Uganda. Leadership not good for someone to stay too long. Need to bring stability,” he explains. “We need change. Lacking jobs because we are lacking skills. Education is not up to date. We are lacking skilled labour. Why people are blaming the government. Very few people can build. Few schools even for mechanics. Because of money, people drop out. Vocational school wasted they become thieves and thugs,” he explains.
I ask him for his wish for the world.
“Peace. At least when you have peace in the world, you can have harmony.”
The trusses are up!
The day wraps up. We all decide since it’s both Cam and I’s last night in Bwera that we head out for a drink.
It’s the only building in Bwera that I’ve seen at night with some funky flashing blue and red lights. We stroll through the entrance into a courtyard at the back where we unload rows of plastic chairs. I immediately think dance floor. But there’s no music.
We talk amongst ourselves while we hear the shrieks and screams of children begging at the metal walled doorways. Quietly we ignore their pleas.
Again I imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t had this opportunity to visit Africa. Tomorrow I head back to Kampala and soon back home to Canada.
I am grateful. Truly I feel rich.
Sunset in Bwera


Mary Catherine said...

Hey my friend. So good to hear your news and that of PODA! Hope you enjoy your last few days in Kampala. I guarantee your re-integration at home will be bring much emotion as we work to make sense of it all! Looking forward to connecting . . . MC xo

A Fresh Thinker said...

Yes... that thing called re-entry aka culture shock! Our western civilization so diverse to the third world atmosphere...