Poverty is commonplace throughout East Africa. However, I am talking about economic or material poverty, not a poverty of spirit, fellowship or joy. That is what has encouraged me and attracted me to Uganda and the region. Despite crushing poverty the people are beautiful, hospitable, friendly. They will be honored to serve you the fruits of their labor and their land: rice and beans, cooked matooke (bananas) and maybe even a chicken if they have it.
The very best days that I’ve had were when I was deep in the village with little or no power, no wifi or reliable phone service. Slept at a lodge under construction. Nothing fancy…a bed and a wooden patio overlooking the Impenetrable Forest. Just to be outside under the stars, sharing with friends everything I had and what I know about the cosmos. I miss those days.
In the capital city of Kampala and nearby Entebbe there are neighborhoods that are prospering, with well-made houses and gated security. Not far from these nice western-style homes are dozens of mud-walled and dirt-floored shelters that children call home. It is a blight and hard on the eyes. Looking deeper, though, you can see joy and hear songs of laughter despite the absence of any worldly possessions.
To me we have so much to learn about a life of simplicity. What is truly important?