So far on this blog, I have tended towards a more philosophical interpretation of life, giving few concrete details about the events behind these musings…

Well, as I sit here ready to write, I think that I will change my style a bit, and share with you the stories that I am living, and allow you to make your own interpretations.

Today I returned to Kampala after two weeks of travel.  A large part of what we are doing here in Uganda consists of moving around the country to gain a sense for the different regions, specifically the TASO centers and the work they are doing in Sustainable Livelihoods.  We began by driving north to Gulu, where we spent a few days.  It was amazing to be in this region, and interact with these beautiful people.  This area has seen a generation of war, and I went not knowing what I would find.  What I discovered was a tenderness in the people there, a soft, gentle spirit that captured my heart immediately.  One of my favorite memories of this trip (and of life!) happened the day we were leaving Gulu as we were introduced to a group of three ladies who have been a part of the Sustainable Livelihoods Program at TASO Gulu for the past few years.  We walked through the hallway, down the stairs, outside, and through a maze of people in colorful clothing until we reached the edge of the compound. Nestled between a building and a fence on a narrow strip of land they had set up shop, and were busy rolling chapatis and frying them over a charcoal heated pan. They smiled and lept up to greet us with a warm Ugandan welcome, inviting us into their shop.  Excitedly, we walked in and sat down on the cement next to them.  I felt like the list of questions I had for them was out of place, and instead, learned to make chapatis and listen to that which is spoken in  silence.  This moment was a privilege- and a window into a different world.  A sub-culture of resilience and overcoming in a wave of hardship and war. The amazing thing is, this is not unique; it is the norm.

The thing that continues to amaze me as I travel, meeting many people, is the consistent smile.  The welcome that is wholehearted and unabashed.  The uncomplicated acceptance, and the willingness to share time, space, stories, successes and challenges with humility.  There is no pretense, people don’t keep you at a safe distance- they invite you in.