Little Lucy-Nangobi sat at her makeshift desk in Brooklyn, covered with the pre-travel clutter she had hastily left two weeks before. Lucy's leg snugly draped over the armrest of her canvas reading chair, with her other ankle wrapped curiously around the stool she was sitting on. The cool summer breeze greeted her back home to the States, and a bright blue sky shined apologies for providing such bad conditions for airplanes last morning. What had just happened! Tears rolled down her peeling sunburned cheeks as frustration and release wove into her thoughts, leading her back through her journey in Amina.
About a year ago, Lucy had stumbled across a women's Bible study that met during the ridiculous hour of 7am in Noho, an hour that didn't exist in the public mind of many a New Yorker. During these dim waking mornings a certain prayer request fell in the line of her fading attention- two adventurous women named Michelle and Lori had started up a non-profit organization called Fount of Mercy. The bold and fearless women crossed the sea with their friends to the land of Africa, and ventured into the country of Uganda to bring aid to and learn of the widows and orphans living there. The little Richter scale God had made a cozy chamber for in Lucy's heart (I'm terribly sorry if you are not in possession of such a wonderful attribute!) began to tremble quite wildly, especially the summer morning she met Lori Acton, soon after Lori had returned back from her trip from Uganda. "Tell me about your trip! You! Your work! Uganda!" Lucy asked excitedly, but rather naively. She was not as socially apt as she can be 8:30 in the morning, after waking at 5am. She cared so much but didn't know what to do- words seemed to be at a loss for both Lucy and her new friend Lori, who seemed very much culture shocked.
Within the little chamber in Lucy's heart, the equally as small Richter scale wagged its needle like a puppy's tail gone wild. A little confused at the allure Lucy found to Uganda and the work Fount of Mercy was doing, Lucy gathered her vacation days one by one like lucky pennies in her pocket to spend on the big trip she hoped to make one day with Fount. Lucy sounded grand, philanthropic, and majestic to those she explained her vacation days to, but she herself knew the simpler truth behind her actions. Not only was it a lifelong dream for Lucy to work with orphans, but she had a deeper connection with the people she longed to fly continents to see- Lucy had lost her dear father a few years ago, and simply wanted to dwell with women and children who she could be with, in the midst of a confounding, commonplace yet life-altering human experience. She shared with these women and children in these pains, and wished to bear gifts and share tears with people like herself. "Maybe this is a really wrong, totally un-P.C. way to think," Lucy began to guilt-trip herself. "How am like these people? Maybe I'm being a punk or pretentious or overly pious... to think that I am like these people bearing such great burdens!" But the little Richter scale didn't fail to quiver in defiance and quickly shut her up. "Or maybe.." Lucy prayed, "they are my kin."
Amina hovered over the land of Uganda, resting in the morning mists and floated in the night's breath. The magic of Amina threaded itself amongst the life of the Ugandans- some realized what was happening, some did not. Even foreigners would travel from far off lands to see the workings of Amina. Amina soaked into the lives of the people in ways not much understood. Civil war had ceased- Amina. The rate of AIDS/HIV had drastically dropped- Amina. The land is in a great state of redemption- its children will all know soon.
After a swirling first night in Kampala Lucy awoke bright and early to rise with her team to leave for the city of Jinja. The postal bus ride there was bumpy yet gentle- Lucy had gotten a chance to chat with her teammate Jen, who would become special to her. Jen's head eventually bobbed asleep in the misty Ugandan morning, but Lucy's hungry eyes plastered themselves open for the sake of eating up the passing landscape she would grow quickly fond of. Lush greens whipped past her sight, in processions of all the different kinds of African ferns, leaves, buds, banana leaves, high grasses an American girl's eye could identify- in shades of viridian, hunter, kelly, all sorts of greens. The mist provided gradations of foliage and of the land- providing just enough for faith for sight, but preserving the unknown of the unseen. The looping sugar cane leaves bowed their arms gently with cocoa dust from the roadside, greeting the muzungus in the passing postal bus in which Lucy was perched, with their sugar stalk feet planted regally in the rich red dirt which christened the earth.
"Welcome to Uganda, sistah," the low winds slithered through the window cracks of the postal bus and whispered to Lucy, as her eyes gave out to exhaustion.
..to be continued..
posted by Marie back in Brooklyn, missing Uganda