Friday, October 12, 2007

a humbling weekend

So you've seen the "literature" with which we ended last weekend in Kampala, but you will not believe all the events that took place while we were in Kampala...we're still trying to ourselves!

While getting in touch with our American pallettes (did someone say pizza--TWICE!--and veggie burgers and salads?!!) was quite a highlight, many of our personal interactions take the bait. We got to meet a woman, Hatifah, whose family makes & sells their own BEAUTIFUL handbags, change purses, aprons, skirts, bedspreads, etc. (more on that later!), & they invited us to their house for dinner. They have a dirt floor house with no electricity, but they of course insisted on buying us cokes & muffins as a snack, before showing us many of their crafts (of which we may have bought a few ;) & sharing their delicious lantern-lit meal of matooke and cooked peanut (ground-nut) sauce with greens. They were just so thankful when we bought some things from them, so proud to show us their home, and so humble overall.

Also, while we were at their shop (after visiting with John Nsamba (a former GSV & Ugandan (well, current Ugandan)!!!) and touching the Parliament Building, which was quite anti-climactic), talking with them and looking at their work, in walks a man with several paintings that he was trying to sell to Hatifah & her sister. "Wait a minute, he looks familiar," said we...and sure enough, he was the infamous "Thomas," the artist who had painted a painting that we bought and LOVE (think HCJ Haitian cross style). We tried to introduce ourselves to him (we were REALLY excited) but had a hard time because he didn't speak English. But then I noticed that he was speaking French & was even able to talk with him a bit...it was so fun! He said that he was from the Congo, which hit home b/c we had just read the Congo article that we posted, and he was selling his paintings for ridiculously cheap prices. Again, humbling.

And finally, when we returned to Mbarara we got to spend an evening with Anthony, a friend who works in the Enterprise sector of the project. We talked about so many things with him, like the success of MVP, American movies (he definitely knows more than both of us!), marketing, American & Ugandan politics, etc. When we were on this last subject, he actually shared with us that his father was killed by the Idi Amin regime 30 years ago or so, and that two of his half-brothers were killed in the Rwanda genocide...wow. It was overwhelming just to hear...I thought that I didn't hear him correctly at first. I share this not to exploit his experiences, but just to share with you the reality that many of the people here live with. And yet they are so kind and welcoming and happy. Anthony closed our evening by leading us through a prayer, for his family, for all the people here to have clothes and food, and of thanksgiving. It was beautiful.

4 comments:

Les said...

WOW, a life touching experience! I'm so glad you guys are together enjoying these ..once in a life time days together! Keep enjoying, but hurry home!

Love ya

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a fantastic weekend. How great!!

Michelle M. said...

so i'm totally crying right now....i mean, I've heard about many of these issues and subjects, and i know it's real, but its so far removed from my life. but you're there, living next door to it, waking up with it every morning, and that's amazing. just reading your blog i was affected, i can't imagine what it would be to actually live it. i love you two, and i love reading about your experiences!!!

Janet said...

What a personal experience!
I do believe God puts us in places everyday for a purpose..look at all the wonderful "places" he has put the two of you!
It gives all of us more to be truly thankful for...thanks for sharing your stories.
sending a hug, Love, Mom