Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good and Bad

Red dirt, green grass and blue sky

Malaria nets, bucket showers and flirtatious boda boda motorcycle men

The sweet evening smell of backyard kitchen fires like your favorite beach trip

Ethnic tension and denominational competition

My host father tells me that after he traveled to northern Uganda as a young man, the truth he learned was that there is good and bad in every people. One people are not all bad, and one are not all good. I agree.

To be honest, though, most of what I have seen is good. And lovely. And delicious. It has not yet been even a week since I left California, let alone when I arrived in Uganda. The course of my life has not been changed forevermore. But it is not the same, either. I have even more reasons to laugh at myself. I have even more reasons to laugh at others, at life. At the way little children have the brightest smile when they see me and call out mzungu, white person! At the way I smile back shyly as the adults look on and chuckle.

My sister, my mugandawange, is nineteen years old. She is incredible, her maturity and how much she contributes to her family's daily functioning. I have so much respect for her! My brothers are quiet with me, but in speaking with them I learn that they are regular guys who like to hang out with their friends. They even play Grand Theft Auto! My father is intelligent and very thoughtful towards making us feel at home. My mother and grandmother speak with their smiles.

So far, I have been more struck by the similarities than by the differences, the good more than the bad. I am still intimidated when I walk around campus, but that is my own insecurity. I find if I have a bit of courage and smile, others smile back.

So I think I will smile :)

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