Category Archives: Body

Choice.

As I close my eyes and picture my life in Guelph, I am frustrated by how little I appreciated my surroundings and all that I have. I am challenged by the idea of choice. Within a simple day at school, I can bike, walk or take a bus; within each of these I have at least five routes that I can take. When I arrive at school, I can get coffee at more than ten locations within a one kilometer radius and have over 100+ options for food. Today, I completed the final day of my village stay. I spent one week in one village (Otorulee) and a few days in another (Alwars). In rural life, the word ‘choice’ seems insignificant. Day in day out, the women walk many kilometres water, something that flows freely; I could roll out of bed, walk two steps and fill up the same size jug that would take at least an hour to fill in the village. The ease of living to which I have become accustomed, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. From dusk to dawn, my host mother, Mary, works tirelessly to put food in her childrens’ mouths and to offer good water to drink. She wipes every tear, settles every fight and supports other women in the community. Mary does this day in day out; her life seems predetermined. In the village, women marry at an early age, they have children, they must know how to cook and please their husbands, and must learn to grow a tough skin since the life they will lead will be paired with many challenges. This is not an option or choice, this is reality. What Mary works tirelessly to achieve in a day, I brush off in as a small chore and enter into a world where choice is endless and opportunity to do with my life what I CHOOSE is unquestioned.
Written on May 31st, 2012

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First look.

Last night I arrived in Uganda after long hours spent travelling (a day and a half if the change in time zones is counted!).  I would say finally but it doesn’t feel that way.  This has been a journey of stretching and pushing myself and continues to be this amazing adventure where I spend every moment embracing something that I love and believe in.  Today, we (Chris and I; go Uganda JFs!) got to go on a scavenger hunt in downtown Kampala; an adventure which proved fruitful and a pain in the same breath.  We were tasked with finding a phone and plan, internet stick, cloth, food etc.  Simple enough when all your surroundings are familiar and you are dealing with a currency that is not foreign ($1 CAD ~ 2500 shillings; good mental math practice!).  Not to mention, Kampala is a bustling city! There are buses, taxis, high-rise buildings, stores upon stores and amazingly clean streets.  The intensity of the city life is somewhat overwhelming coming from small little Fredericton, with sights and sounds continually grabbing your attention.  Just as the city life was becoming tiring at one point this afternoon, I was reminded that blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  As we hungrily wandered in search of meal, a woman asked “Where are you going?”.  What started with a simple discussion with a woman that I had never met before, resulted in this humbling experience which involved tasting my first Ugandan meal (involving matooke – plaintain mushed up like mashed potatoes, poscho – made from maize and is the consistency of porridge and a goat soup of sorts – to have with the matooke and poscho) and getting a dress in the Owino market.  Rose, an amazing woman with a beautiful smile, an English school teacher and mother of two, reminded me of how wonderful people can be and left me wondering why in western culture we can be so self-driven.  We get so caught up in our fast-paced lives with wall-to-wall appointments that we don’t take time to ask, “Where are you going?”.  We lose sight of the amazing opportunities to make someone’s day or to invest in a relationship with another human being.

*written Tuesday May, 15

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Filed under Body, Heart