With race and equality on many people’s hearts and minds, I am going to do my best to add to the discussion in a way that is helpful and constructive as it pertains to our organization and Uganda. While I certainly won't be able to address all the racial dynamics in Uganda, I am going to focus primarily on my experience as a white woman who has had the honor of working with Ugandans, and how this has impacted the way I approach the conversation of race in America.
It has been 10 days since I made the long journey home from Uganda. 10 days since I felt the hot sun beat down, only to be tamed by the gentle, afternoon breeze. The musty scent of charcoal fires has finally washed out of my hair and my mosquito bites are fading away. I have finished taking my travel meds and my suitcases are nearly unpacked. All the signs that I have been to Uganda are disappearing, and yet the memories are so clear...so fresh...so real. While every trip has similarities, they are always different, each marked by special events, themes, or moments. And this one, was no different...
There’s something about stepping off that plane that I will never forget…the warm air hitting my face; the smell of a charcoal fire burning from a nearby home; the relief of arriving after a long journey; the feeling of familiarity; and the joyful sense of arriving home. People often ask, "How long is the trip to Uganda?" But while it is a long journey, that is never what I remember about the trip. It is the smiles...the people...the memories of being in a place that feels familiar, a place where I feel at home.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong and yet known that there is nowhere you belong more? When you look around, you see that you are right where you are supposed to be, and yet something inside you longs to be elsewhere. I have lived the last 10 years of my life in this paradox, belonging and yet still longing. You see, living with one foot in the western world and the other in Sub-Saharan Africa is a gift, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done.