Tuesday, September 15, 2009

'I am because we are' and 'We are because He is'

Classes officially started a week ago yesterday and time is anything but endless.

Coming in to the program we knew some, but not all, of what this semester would entail. And I am relieved to know, at least in part (ha), what it is and will be like. I can say in absolute certainty that I am reading more than I ever have before and my mind is stretched CONTINUALLY. The things I have come to accept are once again challenged as I see faith lived out in yet another culture.

I have to admit though, I love the fact that we do not fully know all of what the semester ahead holds. It seems to be the way with African life in general; live for the relationships, the conversations, the present. On the journey of living life as a collective community, I am discovering the depth of the truth in the philosophy that 'I am because we are' and 'We are because He is.' Though in my mind this has always been resoundingly true and i have seen it before, this is perhaps the first time I have actually been a participant in acknowledging it by action.

Some of you may have heard that there were riots in Kampala and Mukono this past weekend. And yes, I certainly was affected by them. Thursday night the seven of us that live 20+ minutes away from campus by foot had to stay with the leaders of the program on campus. We were pampered with some All American goodies (brownies, cookies, muffins...) and under the circumstances were pretty much oblivious to all that was taking place.

It was not until the next day returning to our homes in Mukono that the issue in its depth became real to us. Tribalism runs deep in Africa and there are somewhere around 52 tribes in Uganda alone. In a nutshell, the Boganda king was trying to get to a neighboring village but the President of Uganda would not allow him to pass. This, in turn, caused upheaval and rioting among the Buganda (people of the kingdom) which was demonstrated through stonings and fires in the streets. In order to tame the situation, the police fired gunshots in the air and in extreme cases, used some tear gas in order to keep the people from continuing to cause trouble.

We were absolutely safe, but not unaffected by fires and gunshots both seen and heard right over the fence of the back of our house. At least where we are, people are fine and the issue is resolved; the King agreed not to pass. Through it all I've learned much about Tribalism, though it would be impossible for me to fully grasp it after three weeks' time.

My family here is wonderful; it, in and of itself, is an example of community as none of the people that live with us are Mama Robina's children anymore. But it doesn't matter; all are family. Ah, Mama Robina. I hope I have time someday to elaborate on that incredible woman of faith...

For those of you I've talked to, it's been wonderful to hear your voices!

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