I couldn’t move out of bed today till after 12:30pm. And even then, I only left bed for a few minutes and am here again, now, in bed. Sore throat, headache, a bit of a fever and just plain TIRED. All this newness and difference and immersion…
I could sense the saturation point being reached yesterday as I walked the last half mile home. There was thick smoke in the air from burning garbage, the sun had set, and my skin had that now familiar yet still new feeling of sweat mixed with a light layer of dust gathered from a day of humidity and walking home along red dirt roads.
And here I am, just tired. Missing the Girl Up team. A little bit ago I wondered if I would drag myself out the door to just go have a few hours in their presence. But no. Just a short conversation with Linda helped me see I had no energy for connecting, let alone walking along the mile of red dirt roads. So I’m here, embracing what is, and giving thanks for having Emergence-C and ibuprofen and the luxury of taking a day to just rest.
So… saturation point… immersion… what’s it take to expand beyond all of this so that I can continue to receive more and immerse even more fully in this new culture and all the everything that comes along with it?
Yesterday’s conversation with Marva opened up some things for me… just being able to put words to my experience with someone else who is having her own experience of being in Uganda created some more space around it all. And then there is being able to speak about that which called me here, and being in the question of what is being asked of me and what more am I desiring while I’m here and realizing fuck… what if right now, right here and now, it’s really all about RECEIVING this gift that I’ve given myself? The gift of BEING HERE, immersed in a land and a people that I had such a clear vision of? Being engaged in day to day activities with brown skin women and children… that had been the vision. Of course there was more… being of service to a higher cause like the education and empowerment of girls and women…
So here I am receiving this and ACKNOWLEDGING all that I’ve created. This is more than I could have imagined: I have a whole new setting for me to experience my aliveness in. I have two different “families” with whom I’m engaging in day to day activities. I’m contributing to something – and many, many “someones” – I greatly believe in.
Ahhh… have I reached an upper limit with how much I can receive? How much I can acknowledge the freaking beauty and power of unfolding a calling into a reality? So everything that is… let’s clear and let go of… there are no limits…
I had a conversation with a woman on the Girl Up team last night as we walked through the dusty dusk towards our respective homes that, as it turns out, are in similar directions. I was sharing how intense it was to be the only white skinned person in this area; how it was both enlivening and sometimes exhausting to be stared at, to receive so much attention, to be the recipient of so many projections and judgments and curiosity.
She shared how (and this is my remembered gist of it which doesn’t do it justice but comes close to the essence of it), “We like whites… we see whites as having more, more, more… more riches, more fancy things; they’re of a higher class; and some people will even want to touch your white skin… to be closer to all of that ‘more’…”
I felt sick and saddened to hear this and also aware of the reverse racism… I raised this up… the response, “Ehhh… not sure where this comes from… from the past and slavery…”
I want to dive into this more with her, with others, but last night I didn’t have the words. What I did share though was how there is a conversation about race heating up in America right now, and how, here I am, paying my white privilege forward. Doing what I can to create a bridge instead of more disconnection. Doing what I can to heal that separation in the ways that I can.
“You are sociable,” she says to me, “You are free with us,” (meaning I am relaxed and real with the team, I hug them, I enjoy being with them), “That is healing itself.”
That is healing itself. Me being me with them. What if it really is as simple and profound as this?
How is me being here being me creating healing through hugs and laughter and conversations also contributing to the past-present-future dynamic and dialogue between the races?
Reminds me of the Desmond Tutu quote:
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Here’s to overwhelming the world with all the little bits of good I’m doing, right here, right now, immersed in the day to day activities with these families that have opened their hearts to me.