Why do you go there?

Why is it every time I come home to Canada,
I dream of coming back?

“Why Uganda?
Why East Africa? Why Africa?”
come the persistent questions from people back home – the judgers, the
sympathizers, and the many in-between.

“Have you ever been there?” I ask.

One hundred per cent of the time, the people that ask me
those questions, have not. The people that have been here, know, in a quiet,
silent way, and would never ask. And not that I blame the people that do, I
think they are perfectly reasonable questions. But there is a perfectly
reasonable answer and if you have set foot here, you know it already.

It can be so depressing here – the children who die of simple
things like a skinned knee that gets infected, or the mothers who know that
likely a third of their children will be dead by the age of five, for the many people
who want to work and cannot find jobs. For all the children who desperately
want to but cannot afford to go to school.

And yet, in some ways, it is living here that strangely
gives me hope for the future. Ugandans so rarely look at the bad here. They
look for ways to make their lives better. Laughter is pure here. People have
nothing, and yet are still happy. It seems at home, the more we have, the more
miserable we become. For the majority of the people I have met here, the
opposite is true – it is every step forward that you should celebrate and
cherish.

But really, folks, the best way to learn all of this
yourself is to come here and see it with your own eyes. I have no doubt you
will see it with the same wide-eyed amazement and admiration that I do.

And the next time somebody asks me, “Why do you go there?” I
will answer, “How can I not?”

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.