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.
In what ways have you seen progress?”...This was the question a woman recently asked me at one of our events. She was eager and excited, wanting to hear more. “Progress”…this is an interesting term when we are working with people. How do you measure progress in another person’s life…and better yet, who am I to do that?
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.
Besides planting the actual seeds, this mulch "blanket" is perhaps the most essential part of the planting process, sometimes making the difference between a low and plentiful harvest. The trick? Finding the dried leaves to make it. Luckily, there is one crop that drops heaps of dried leaves and there's plenty of it around, even neighboring many of the women’s gardens! Unfortunately, it comes at a price. So how much is too much?