Every place we have visited so far has involved a warm and fairly extravagant welcoming. Songs, dances, handshakes, and even hugs are all given to us the second we step off the bus. If you think about it, that would be like a bus full of aliens rolling up to Creighton’s campus and our natural reaction being to chant the fight song at them or give them high fives. I never feel worthy of the extent of their greeting and can’t help wondering if we would greet them the same way if they ever came to visit our homes in the U.S. It’s so vastly different from anything we do, but it is also a much more genuine introduction to their home then a welcome mat on their front door step.
For the past few days, we have been filming different traditional songs and dances in various places and settings. It is amazing to watch even the people of Abia, who struggle to find food to eat on a daily basis, still put what little energy they have into dancing for group of complete strangers. I’ve been a dancer for most of my life, and even though I haven’t stepped in a studio or performed on stage in a few years, I still recognize the joy dancing can bring. Especially in a place like Ave Maria, where one-third of the students are HIV positive, or the small village of Abia, where hundreds of children are growing up in the poorest living conditions, I am sure the pursuit of happiness must not come easily. But watching them dance, I would catch moments where they would smile to themselves or with the people around them.
I might be making assumptions, but if they’re anything like me, I think dancing gives them a few minutes of escape from the real and often harsh world they live in; an outlet to express any and all of their emotions and a way to share a little piece of themselves with others.
Blogging is becoming more and more challenging as we continue on this journey. There’s so much to say, but sometimes the words just don’t come together in a way which accurately expresses what is actually happening. It’s also interesting to return from playing soccer with the kids in the village nearby observing all of the poverty surrounding us (as well as facing the reality that my soccer career ended after playing with the “Hot Shots” in second grade) and return to the hotel where we all gather with our electronic devices rolling our eyes or complaining about how slow the wireless connection is. We are lucky enough to be in this country, experiencing the lives of all of these people and seeing first hand a completely different part of the world, let alone having the opportunity to share it with friends and families through these blogs.
So now, it is my turn to thank the dear lovely visitors of these blogs and appreciate all of the support we receive. (Now imagine I’m stomping around with a tribal skirt and whistle and it will be slightly closer to the authentic Ugandan welcome experience).
Keep on keepin’ on and if I don’t get the chance to write tomorrow Happy Father’s Day Dad!
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” –Charles Dickens