So, I channeled my inner Jacobi today and decided to make the family sauce recipe. We’ve been eating a lot of meat and rice the last three weeks, and changing it up sounded really good. Everyone went on an outing with the neighbors and I stayed home with Elias and Cora and we played, and cooked, and did laundry, and listened to music for most of the day. It felt good to be able to make food for my family, wash their clothes, and just do normal “mom” stuff. I’ve been realizing how much I enjoy taking care of the home and the family and meeting their needs. It’s been one of the hardest parts of the transition to a different environment, especially with the loss of a lot of the conveniences we are used to at home. With days with no water, power, laundry, etc, and with being so tired and out of rhythm, there have been many days where I have been frustrated at my lack of ability to provide what I feel my family needs. It’s made me think a lot about the challenge of living in poverty or in a place where you don’t have access to the “essentials” and the stress that comes along with that. I’ve always thought the stress was more related to the loss of convenience, but since we’ve been here in Uganda I’ve been realizing that the stress of being without the essentials is more about not being able to take care of those who depend on you and not being able to provide for the basic needs of your family. It’s maddening! And when you feel helpless to change the situation (i.e. no power and no water and no way of getting any), it’s the ultimate defeat.
I know the levels I have experienced these things are so so small compared to the reality of the people living just down the street from the community we are living in here. It makes me sad to think about the struggle going on to put food on the table, and to bathe, to keep warm, and to clothe the children that are living there. I’m wondering what it means to be an advocate for these people, to help them have access to the things that they really need. Wondering what it means to be a peace-bringer during our time here, and to not perpetuate these disparities any further. I see a ton of NGO’s (non-government organizations) around here and they are doing phenomenal work along these lines. It’s amazing to see the renewal that can take place in a community and in a household with a little assistance. I’m thinking about how our family can participate in that transformation while we are here. One thing I know it involves for sure- how we spend our money while we are here. Where we eat, shop, who we hire, how generous we chose to be, how we get around, where we hang out. I’m sure it goes beyond that, but that’s where I’m starting since it’s a daily reality and choice we are making.
This experience also has me thinking about home and the way I deal with need and discomfort, and how I participate in the renewal of our neighborhood and city. I’m sure that there’s work to be done in our town, just like there is here in Uganda. I just get too comfortable to see it, and I get too consumed with my world of convenience and consumption to want to do anything about it. Good thing I have a few more weeks to think about this!
My helpers in the kitchen today.
A sign that the sauce turned out pretty good after all (be proud dad)! Making pasta sauce from scratch with supplies from local markets could have yielded a very different result.