The Rest

11:52 AM

I am sitting in a dark hostel with a headlamp on, fighting for words. My brain is in recovery from a minor concussion, my shoulders sore from kayaking the nile and my heart so full. Tomorrow morning at 6 am, I’m leaving Africa and I head back to Tennessee.

There is plenty that I have left out, like what it felt like to be the first white person a child has ever seen, what a joy it was to watch baby Diana celebrate her first birthday, that last night at BJ’z, or the time a random hotel let us shower in a strangers room. I have failed to tell you that we learned to throw spears, and I can’t yet explain the spiritual experience I had in Aruua, walking through the brush, seeing graffiti of past LRA members & letting the waterfalls take me away for a moment.

How powerful it has been to backpack through East Africa with my best friend, absolutely running in the direction of our fear and realizing nothing is to be feared at all. Learning that to kill the germs, all you have to do is eat them and that clothes are best washed with two hands and a bucket. Because if you’re gonna get a concussion, it might as well be from swing dancing and if you’re going to get a parasite, it might as well be from swimming under a waterfall.

Yesterday, we stayed in a cottage at the Red Chilli hostel. They accidentally booked us a two bedroom, so we invited Boni to be our house guest. We stayed up discussing our time on the Road with Invisible Children, and we laughed about those things that we said we would laugh about later. And after a few cups of tea, I was reminded that the human connection is what I love the most about Uganda.

Because you see, Uganda has it right when it comes to people. Because we should greet every person in every room that we walk into, we should welcome even strangers into our homes, we should wave and smile, and shake hands often. I have learned that there is no “stopping by” in Uganda. When you visit someone, you really visit them. You stay and you let them bless you, and you do not drown them out with your iphone. 

There are things that I will not miss. Like being called Mzungu, I prefer Madi. Or having  the water cut off mid-shower. I do not think that I will miss the mosquito bites on my ankles or the way that men would grab our arms in the markets. But everything else, I believe I already miss. Luckily, this world is small enough that goodbyes are only ever temporary. The people who are supposed to be in your life, they will always be there. I am unsure how to cope, but just like when I left the road, there is nothing that Ben Howard and good friends can’t fix. Until then, thanks for being present in my journey, it has been one of the most formative, fulfilling adventures of my life.

“Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins. Shake the dust.” -Anis Mojgani

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