Monday, February 23, 2009

hitting all the bumps

Okay, so things aren't always so light and inspirational. I do feel inspired pretty often - when reading the Aid to Artisans magazine about organic cotton production in Senegal last night, dreaming up ideas for turning Uganda's organic cotton into beautiful fabrics with natural dyes. I felt inspired sitting in the market this morning with Kevin, Sarah, Monica and Prisca. Learning Acholi and helping Sarah to finish the aprons while Kevin and Monica worked on yoga bags and Prisca made a dress for a customer. The familiar taste of beans and rice - the tea and chapattis this morning to "make me fat."

But, in all honesty, the past two days in Gulu have thrown me, once again, into the all-too-familiar waters of existential crisis. What on earth am I doing here? I'm lying atop the fuzzy leopard-print blanket (a true Gulu blanket - the only sort you find here), semi-comatose and listening to Bon Iver.

What might've been lost
Oh, the crispy realization
Your love will be safe with me

I somehow burned my left arm more than my right, and it's still doing this weird mottled two-toned peel effect, with little flakes of skin around the paler patches. I keep thinking "buck up, there's a bike ride tomorrow!" but can't seem to hold onto the joy that the thought of bicycling in Gulu brought a few months ago - even a few weeks ago.

There some mistruths going on up here, and some short-sightedness. I'm being vague. It's a tangled mess and we need to get to the bottom of it all - to see past the current hardships and instead focus on how far we've come. I feel disappointed - I would say betrayed, but betrayal is so 2008. I'm sticking with disappointment.

I can't put myself in Lucy's shoes. She's anxious. She lost her two brothers to war and AIDS. Her parents are both sick and old, and she has no one by her side to help ease the burden. Her husband abandoned both her and her girls. And she has so many people that look to her for support - even more so with all the success from One Mango Tree. She feels afraid that the successes she's built are fragile, and could break away at any moment.

So, really, I should turn off the Bon Iver and the lights, and breathe myself to sleep. And tomorrow give Lucy another chance. Give this whole huge jumping ship experiment another chance and stop being so sad.

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