I’ve written very little about any medical work here Confidentiality trumps web logging .Suffice it to say that if you work closely with people there is a wealth of very funny incidents .Add in a language difference and the laughter can be loud.Only in private conversation .
There is also a mountain of sadness even tragedy .Wherever it is,it’s hard to look at youngsters crushed with a burden . The centre and school care for many such students .No real difference here in some stresses,work pressure ,family pressure ,past abuse,poverty .The illnesses are different .Malaria ,typhoid,more respiratory illness in the dusty dry season.Orphans robbed of parents by HIV. Some children as carers .
Young precious lives need the care of immunisation as their health and development hang in the balance. But I am inspired by these crushed flower children .I see fresh blooming in so many of them.The silent bravery emerging from deep wounds.Glimpses of promise ,faith ,hope,love.There is an environment of encouragement ,challenge and empowering love. Everyone of us gets mired in challenge and problems ,sometimes foolishly forgetting to be expecting the unexpected.We like patterns of order and predictability but crushing can come and jolt us. At those times remember the crushed flower children blooming again and the medicine of faith hope and love .
The catch at the back of my throat has gone now.The rainy season has started and the air is clearer.About once a week or may twice there is a real downpour. Red dust turning to mud,Wellington boot mud. The trickling drain turned into a torrent of stones, plastic, paper, rubbish and rainwater.
The dust is the everyday and the mud is the sometimes. And the dust makes me ponder. What is the secret art of living with dust? How do people look so smart and shiny in such a dusty world? The occasional Westerners I meet are a scruffy sight by and large.Dress codes broken through ignorance or heat,but also lack of observation and respect.Choosing comfort over dignified honour of another’s country code. Ignorant of the slovenliness. Ignorant of the low standards of the casual.Applauding the non ironed look.Yes, I ‘m attached to the scruffy Westerner set with crumples and dusty shoes… Always.. Almost.
White shirt,smart tie,smart suit and a ride on a Boda Boda and still the rural pastor looks dignified and smart and mastered the dusting down discretely and immediately.
And there’s the sweeping. No Mr Dyson here.Small children learn the art of stick bundle sweeping at an early age and beat me at it,in effectiveness. And still the dust keeps coming, a thin red shimmer on all but the newly polished cars in Kampala, grubbying the children at play, inhabiting the lungs of the tiny the old and all in between, shaming the water rinsing my hair.
The wet wipe is a great leveller. Red red dust off everyone
It’s a massive privilege to give.We all know that.It’s the smile on the receivers face,it’s the satisfaction of being good.It’s the giving of wings to baggage that can land at the point of need.It’s joyful .
But giving needs to avoid power, control,giver knows best ,giver knows how gift should be managed,giver is now superior .
I brought some things to Uganda .I have received far more, from a generous dignified people. Learning about my neighbour , learning resilience ,deepening understanding ,and stretching faith,catching overflowing joy and seeing extreme poverty welling up in rich generosity . This is no one way street ,Europe ,but a flood of wisdom ,grace and kindness for those who notice Uganda. Thank you to all I meet .
I’m not a baggage handler but if I was I’m sure there’d be times when I’d wonder what all the baggage was about.Where it’s going ,who is it for ? How necessary is it? Wherever people travel they like to take a little bit of home with them.To bring and take back.Clothes, toothpaste ,a book ,shoes, although in most countries its easy to buy shampoo and toothpaste. Security is an important comfort of life.Look how well brands pander to people’s insecurity .They say ‘You know me.You can trust me .And you don’t need to take risk to discover the new and the local.You don’t need to support the strange or the stranger .I’m the only one of quality ” Quite a boring way to follow with loyal blindness into the uniformity of globalisation. The security of baggage and brands can be a trap of restricted experience and a lie that strange is inferior . But not all baggage is predictable. And those pioneering the work I have joined in with had great plans of delivering gifts from a variety of sources. If you have read the earlier blog you will remember the bicycle luggage ,but I’ve not yet mentioned the dolls or the clothes or the beautiful quilts.Not my gifts, but the generosity of people who know who their neighbour is and responded . And so I share with you a little of the distribution of baggage. It emerged as generous gifts from the kindness of strangers ,reaching the surprised on floodwater of joy. We’ve taken some time to deliver assessing need and suitability not wanting to be provoking envy.
A very big thank you from this family whose life will be transformed by simple transport of a bicycle .Thank you to a colleague .A shock presentation of great happiness .Thank you for letting me experience this.
And eight little people being blessed by eight magnificent hand knitted dolls ..a few more to distribute amongst children who have recovered from malaria or other sickness. Massive smiles on tiny faces and mothers touched deeply by generosity Thank you.
What beautiful quilts! The skill in design and execution is tremendous and these have been for little people bringing comfort in poverty .Thank you.Thank you. The generosity of others has had profound effects .It is a humbling privilege to be a luggage lady,fellow staff have seen professional care and dedication in the givers they may never meet .The transitory handover gave all round intense pleasure running into lasting practicality and deep experiences of long term gratitude. Cycling,sowing ,knitting or whatever your baggage, may it rise out of the dull ,ripple past your security to create extraordinary generosity.