I woke up this morning to loud raindrops pounding on the ceramic roof, and had no idea what the day would hold. Getting ready, leaving, driving through the red roofed red road-ed streets of Kampala on my way to Mulago Hospital, I was mainly thinking about myself- thinking about life from my own perspective, my own cares, my own dilemnas.
Arriving at the hospital, I saw people lined up out the doors waiting to be cared for. Mothers and their babies, friends, everyone there for a different reason. We walked and walked through hallways, annexes, buildings, for what seemed to be forever, until, after asking many times for directions, we found ourselves, muddied and somewhat soggy, at the right place. We were in for a very special day!
Mulago is the central hospital in Kampala, as well as being the headquarters for TASO, the organization with whom we are working. Today, we were to go to visit families in the surrounding villages who have created many forms of sustainable livelihoods. We drove for some time, slowly leaving behind the business of the city, the boda bodas, street vendors, traffic, and bustle of people. The green started to get greener, the mist from the day’s rain coating the air with wonder.
Many things to say, many things to see, but the one very special experience was arriving at a family’s home and farm and seeing fields of mangoes, papayas, avocados, and coffee plants. Eating fresh mangoes that have just fallen off of the tree by cutting them open with a machete. Meeting my neighbor who is from an entirely different experience and generation, speaks another language, wears different clothes, and yet; loves mangoes just like me.
I am re-discovering and re-thinking what it means to live in a world that has been divided by borders and national lines; moments like that, with a community under a mango tree-next to a coffee plant-down the lane from the papaya tree-next to the avocado tree-in the hills of rural Uganda, brings together people from generations, nations, and obligations so diverse yet so common to us all.
I guess the moral of the story could be that mangoes unite us all, or…