Sunday, January 14, 2007

Soft

by Holly
When we got to my parents house this is what I saw when I walked in. I cried. I wasn’t sure why. It just looked so soft and beautiful and it felt like it was exactly the shape of the hole in my heart. It was one of those moments where you get a glimpse of the way life or home is supposed to be and most of the time it isn’t where we live. Where we live isn’t even a shadow of what should be. Maybe that’s true everywhere but in northern Uganda it feels particularly true. That’s not to say that everyone here should have a living room like the Randall family cottage but I do think that we all long for something that is there--comfort, beauty, a loving family that actually likes and looks forward to time together and is restored by it, shelter, safety, more than enough to eat, acceptance.
It broke my heart. Partly, because I miss it and partly because it seems impossible for the people of northern Uganda. And then at the same time those moments happen here too. Some are quiet and simple and others are more profound. I had a simple one yesterday when I walked home under a red sun after a meeting with the management team that was energized and full of common purpose. And then Ben and I sat on the front porch and watched the sun sink and talked about the day. I had a moment like that last year when I first saw Acholis dance. While they sweat and kicked up the red dust to the drums I thought, “this is what they were meant to do, this is how it’s supposed to be with the young people dancing and the children trying from the sides and the old people nodding and watching—they weren’t meant for this war, destruction, displacement and poverty.” But that moment happened right in the middle of it. In a way that’s comforting, because it means that whatever those moments are or whatever they reflect—the longing for home—the restoration of things to the way they should be—life at its fullest—they are more powerful and can’t be overcome by the most gruesome war, or by massive displacement or abject poverty. Human beings will still dance.

7 comments:

JT said...

Holl, I submitted your blog to www.globalvoicesonline.org as a good site on Uganda. If that's not okay, let me know.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Just got back to the States from Lira on the 30th of Jan. Stayed with some wonderful folks from Truth Evangelistic Fountain (the church near Erute camp)Visited a few camps (getting pretty empty now) and did some first aid as well as food and clothing distribution for the camps and street kids. My wife was there last summer and we bought 4 acres on Lira Rd as you head out towards the Gulu intersection. It's just south of Otenowa Villiage (Bob and Carrol's place) We hope to do something similar with our land after we move out there this summer. Met 3 women from Global Refuge Int. Only other Mono's I met while there. Anyway, would love to start a correspondence with you and get together when we move out there some time this summer. Please feel free to write us at fortyeightoff@yahoo.com Look forward to hearing from you.
Alon & Valerie Bransdorfer

Holly & Ben Porter said...

Jessie, it's totally ok. I don't know exactly what it means that I'm submitted but I'd never seen the site so I just checked it out and discovered that there are quite a few more of us blogging in Uganda than I'd previously known. It's always fun to see how small the world can be online. Speaking of, Alon & Valerie--we know the GRI and Ottinowa folks. There are quite a few of us "munu" (Luo for mzungu, Swahili for white person) here now, not like when we first arrived. The population is growing. When you come this summer we'll be happy to welcome you to the neighborhood. We're not hard to find, sometimes too easy. If you ask a boda boda in town to take you to munu house in junior quarters you'd probably end up outside our easter egg colored house. People I meet on the street know me as Elizabeth (my middle name, Holly is hard to pronounce and often comes out more like "Harry") and Ben is either Ben or Ogiko--the dog's name. Not sure how that happened.

JT said...

I just listed you on the Uganda blog list, which means the people who choose the headline articles on the main globalvoicesonline.org page will read your blog and might publish some of what you wrote on their site (giving you credit).

Did you get my Skype message the other day?

Holly & Ben Porter said...

ooooh. exciting. nope--ben is almost always the one on the computer, or more likely, he got online and then left the computer. I think you could count the macs in uganda and not run out of fingers--so our internet provider is only compatible on Ben's PC and not my mac. :(

JT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JT said...

Interesting developments... and someone is going to be calling you on your cell, Holly, for a reference for me. But you won't have to fill out any paperwork for me. I'll send an email or hopefully see you on skype soon.