June 19th: Women of Substance

3:26 AM

June 19th:

It’s Wednesday, and I have been slacking on this whole blogging thing lately. Sometimes living is more important than writing, and I have decided to live often and write when convenient. These last few days have been wonderful. It has consisted of going to the market, walking around town, seeking out internet from local cafes and hanging out with our Ugandan friends. We cooked our first Acholi meal, fried cow peas (similar to garbanzo beans), Irish potatoes cooked with garlic, tomatoes, onions and green peppers. Never has a place become comfortable to me so quickly. We have learned how to navigate around town, when to take a boda and when it is better to walk. It helps that we have the best tour guides around, Papito and Innocent.

              

We’re regulars at Sankofa Cafe and Ben, the waiter, refers to Lindsay, Anna, and I as “The Triplets”. Our mornings just don’t start without African tea and organic brown sugar.  Outside of Sankofa Cafe is our friend Keven who runs a store for an organization called Amani. Yesterday, she took us to the workshop and we met the ladies from Amani. The women were victims of the LRA, many of them abducted when they were younger and forced to become wives. Amani helps with their recovery and allows them to receive a fair income. Check them out at: http://www.amaniafrica.org

We also visited Cornerstone, a girls home that Janelle and Lindsay will be living at for the next month. The children taught us how to play a new card game and despite my efforts, I was beat every time. There are 11 girls at Cornerstone who are taken care of by two mentors.

One of my favorite organizations is one called Tribe. Lindsay had connections with Bre, the founder and we visited the ladies of Tribe this morning. They each set out their display of jewelry that they had made on the side. All of them wanted to greet us and show us their work. They were a group of 21 strong woman who survived the war. Many of these organizations aim at empowering women. The world needs more women with substance and I have found many of them here. Check them out at http://tribedesigns.com/. They make some of the most beautiful jewelry that I have seen in Uganda, or anywhere, ever. Bre had a quote in her office that said this: “I am glad that I am a woman, because that means I am strong”. Bre and the tribe girls refer to themselves as “global nomads”, sound familiar? I know, I’m in love. What is a global nomad? They define it as this on their website:  

“So inspired by worldly women who have the courage to just pick up their bags and go, like gypsies with a purpose. Women who are eager to discover. Learn. Live in the moment. We’re obsessed with this idea of simply not knowing. Making the decision to leave what is comfortable and discover something new.  Who cares about the where or the when or the why or the how. We’re just gonna do it. Because we are free. Nomads. Gypsies. Vagabonds on the run for moments that remind us that we are always free to be.”

                              
                      

To make a long story short, everything here speaks to me, everybody here speaks to me. And I refuse to accept that I am leaving in a week.

From Drew’s apartment, you can watch both the sunrise and the sunset. This morning I woke up early to watch the sunrise, journal, thank the Lord for this land and the recovery that has taken place here. In the world, we strive so hard to find peace, I think it comes to us when we stop striving and just allow ourselves to be. At night, the sky is full and uninterrupted by unnecessary light. In America, you watch the stars, but here, you watch the planets. I do not miss the abundance of lights or the busy streets, I’ve learned that I prefer the simple things.


I’ve realized this: when I journey, I forget the things that enslave me, I adopt the beauty that pursues me, and my life becomes fragments of all the places that I have been. From Uganda, I will take patience, simplicity and perseverance. Man, I wish you all could be here. I wish you could have seen Innnocent dancing Gangnam Style at the Blue Mango, I wish you could have seen Janelle barely miss the oncoming bus in Rwanda, and I wish you could have danced Alingo over and over again. I wish you could eat the fresh mangos, boda in the rain, visit these people who have come alive. Because I think they will change you. They certainly have changed me. 

              
             

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