Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thank Heavens I am an extrovert!

There are times when my extrovert personality has got the better of me - when I professed my love for a girlfriend, on stage, at a drunken college bar night, would be one such example (we broke up shortly after!) Today, however, I am grateful that my natural disposition is to draw energy from interacting with people.

From the moment I stepped outside door 562 of the Garden Court hotel, it has been one conversation after another: chatting over a light breakfast with Paul and Sue was quickly followed by sitting in on a presentation by the finance committee of the school they support. Along the way, there were short stops as Aloysius, our driver (who also happens to be the school principal) recognised people familiar to Paul and Sue and pulled the car over to say hello.

The conversations continued over lunch at Aloysius and Lucy's home - with their son, with a visiting Californian student, Sonia, with each other - followed by a trek into Masaka, where the streets just teemed with bodies in motion.

An afternoon meeting with a couple of priests, to discuss possible immersion trips to Uganda, through Catholic Mission, meant the talking continued into early evening. When we finally took our leave, it was only to head out for dinner at a local restaurant (with another diversion to Lucy's community health clinic). Here, over burgers and soft drinks, we reflected on the day that had unfolded. A final opportunity for interaction occurred when the principal of the local secondary school, Justine, joined us to share about some of the challenges she was facing.

Tomorrow, the schedule will be similar as we attend a large community Mass, beginning at 7am, and then several meetings with various parish groups, and a large lunch, to punctuate the day.

This blow-by-blow account is offered for the simple reason that I am reminded that this trip is not so much about the place of Uganda, as it is its people. They are the reason Paul and Sue do what they do, through Uganda Kids; they are the focus for our time and effort,  the fuel that powers our journeying.

Of course, while being an extrovert does indeed help with the constant demands on personal space and time it is not the only force at play in this trip. In the smiles and hugs, the elaborate hand shakes and gracious nature of all our hosts, I realise that encountering others will always leave us open to the greatest of all human experiences: the joy of knowing people and, just as importantly, the grace of being known in return.

1 comment: