There are a few things that strike me as worldly differences between the United States and Uganda. For starters, here at home we are battling an obesity epidemic, with even the youngest among us afflicted with diabetes and heart disease. As you can imagine, in much of Uganda people are battling hunger and malnutrition. Stateside we are drowning in obscene consumerism. The fight for shelf space between pumpkins and Santa statues highlights this in a way that makes me cringe. We live where being rich is defined by what you have versus what you give. In America, we work in isolation from our families, from each other. In Ugandan villages, family is central to everything. We work and toil and have missed smelling the proverbial roses for decades. Regardless our level of success (defined monetarily), it is never enough. We view happiness as a destination rather than a journey. In Uganda people are always doing or absorbing or simply being. There are few signs of malaise or folly. Theirs is a purposeful life, not just for survival, but for spiritual, cultural, and familial reasons. The essence of faith is everywhere. We are hellbent on making money at the environment’s expense, while Ugandans revere it and rely on natural resources for their livelihood. They revel in nature and live as part of it rather than grotesquely consume it. There are certainly lessons of self reliance that we could learn.
The hills, valleys, and mountains of Uganda are stunning. To see the terrain is to be enveloped in something fully alive and lush. At first glance you almost see an absence of color, though the meandering fabric before you is awash in shades of green. The cloud covered tapestry of moss has an ethereal feel that seems heaven sent. The clouds hover in streaks, not in the cottony puffs we imagine. The sky hovers between blue and gray, and turns a deep indigo just before the afternoon storms. Uganda is a beautiful country. The land and its people shine.
As global citizens, as mothers, as fellow human beings who are guided by a moral imperative, we must work together to give the children of this country a shot at life.