It's funny that I used to think Gulu was my dream. Was really living life on the edge. Used to think it was pretty adventurous that I learned how to drive a Toyoto truck on a road full of long-horned cattle and never killed a pedestrian.
Today I saw a mzungu girl (“whitie”) driving her little mzungu girl friend on a scooter.
On a scooter. Like she was in San Francisco or L.A.
Probably another young kid here doing research for 2 weeks. Another kid who has called my phone for an interview.
I stopped giving interviews. About 10 or so back, when they never bothered to send any of their “research” to actually help change things.
Takers. Take, but don't give. Go get tan in the African sun at the pool and talk loud.
Neveryoumind the blood that's been let in these streets.
The hard fought battles for this place.
Neveryoumind the stories I pluck from dusty hearts to string around my neck like a trophy, like the beads I wear in my dreaded hair. Neveryoumind someone lived it and maybe they don't want to tell you what it was like to be abducted. And maybe its rude to ask.
It's a different kind of rape.
I wonder if we would ever think to do the same in America. To ask September 11 survivors what it was like. To tell them its for our research project. Our degree. Ours. Mine. I. Me.
But it's “post-war,” “post-conflict,” A silver tongued word.
My home is a zoo. A tourist attraction. And the pain here is just another person's picture for their personal slideshow.
But they don't get it.
Because to give here, is to give your life away. Your heart, your being, your soul.
To live here is to weep with the women when they lose a brother in Congo because of lack of proper medical care.
And as I passed around the corner a little Ugandan child yelled, “Mono, you give me my money.”
Entitlement. It digs teeth into my bones.
How Aid and ignorance has ruined this place. This place I loved.
I watch this happen in the juxtaposition of our volunteers who come to build. To spend hours letting hair be braided, and teaching ABC's, and giving ballet lessons. And our women who come each morning to pray.
Heaven is waiting. Waiting for hearts. Hearts that are desperate.
Relationships. Relationships that stay.
How can revival come to a home which is not hungry?
How can it remain.
There are no quick fixes.
There is only the journey. The journey back to our hearts.
Out on the farm, the pineapples suck water from the soil. Grow sweet under a heavy sun. Grow stronger in the African heat. Grow through hail and drought.
There is no fruit yet. Only roots and tended rows.
But the ones with too much rain, and too much shade, they died. The withered away.
I think dreams are like that. Hidden from sight. Months of incubation.
The flower still waiting to be birthed in morning's light.
The struggle with the angel.
The struggle which ended a fight.
The wrestler who saw the face of God.
And it healed him. The blessing in the joint of that deep pain.
These plants are a promise. And a testimony. All the sweat wrung out in these fields bear witness to the blossom.
Bear witness to those who bore the brunt to birth them.
Heaven can still dream new dreams. These plants tell me to remember.
Remember that it only starts with a seed.
This vision. It can happen.
Further out on the horizon in wide open spaces. The next frontier.
Where the hunger is.
Where the stones have yet to be turned.
Where the places which are won have yet to be named.