I’ve made it back to Kampala with both happiness and sadness. I’m on the verge of change again- housemates will start to arrive at the end of the week, and I’m nervous and hopeful that everything will go smoothly. It was hard to leave Kanungu, even knowing that comparatively, I’m not so far away here in the capitol. I think it will always be hard to leave such places. It makes me think of the Cheers (corrected by @jenn_are, thanks ma'am!) theme song (yes, 1990s television. I just went there,) “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” Kanungu is such a place. It doesn’t hurt to be white, blonde, and covered in tattoos, either. Here in the capitol, it isn’t uncommon to see a white person, and it’s close to home in that people don’t stop each other just for a greeting.
A letter Wilson wrote to me while I was in America, including his photo.
When I leave the village, I go with the strangest feelings. For the most part, I like to think of myself as rather low-maintenance. (My parents, if they’re reading this, are probably laughing their butts off. But I digress.) If I have a blank journal, a task before me, my family, and the semi-regular Pepsi-Cola, I’m happy. But when I leave Kanungu, I find myself coveting a lot of things. Mostly, I wish I was rich. And not just Starbucks coffee every day rich. I want to be Bill Gates rich. I want to send a village of kids to university. That takes money. As times goes on I'll be telling you tons about Wilson, the clever young man who I am lucky enough to be able to afford to send to secondary school. But I want more. I want to send this kid to college. I can so easily envision him touring West Chester University of Pennsylvania- alma mater shout out! - And falling in love with the atmosphere of learning. He could get his degree in teaching, and bring those skills back to Uganda. Students would be able to see what education can help them to achieve through direct example. Wilson inspires me, but he has the ability to inspire his whole community. He’s already a dreamer; when I went to visit his home, Wilson proudly showed me how he is experimenting with growing every kind of crop imaginable. If only the bananas and coffee beans were made of gold. Then we would get him to college. This library may help future generations of Kanungu children get to college. I want to have the resources to encourage students to apply for international scholarships. I want them to dream big and see their hopes achieved. But Wilson starts secondary school in the new year. I only have until he graduates to figure out university. I don’t even know if I’ll be working a steady job in the States by then. Even if I am, will it be enough to afford his schooling and mine? Needless to say, my international aid research begins now.
As for the rest, I am readjusting to the city and enjoying a few days of sleeping in. The rainy season has officially started here, and I'm loving the sound of droplets on roofs and leaves. I wish all of you could see this place. I'll do my best to show you.
Lots of Love,