Most of my adult life I live alone. Except when I am home, I crave the company of people familiar to me, my dad especially.
But when I am out of the country, more often than not, I am alone.
Living in Arua is not any different than any other places I live in. I get to enjoy all the perks of living solo. I get to cook food I like to eat, like when another Filipino brought me dried fish from home, I had a moment of happiness cooking it and eating with my hands.
When I wanted to be away from drama, I have a place of refuge, where no one can touch me. I can decide not even to answer my phone.
I can also choose the people I wanted to invite and dine with me, even to crash just because I know they are good people.
Although there are times, I feel lonely. In cold nights or when there’s no power, and a good chat buddy would be nice to have around. Phone calls don’t cut it. Those times, I needed someone close.
But the pro outweighs the cons of living alone. I wouldn’t trade it if I can avoid it. This is the life I chose to live, the compromise to the kind of work I do. And like, having my me time, I wouldn’t trade the work I do for anything especially the people I meet in the field. To be around them means I am part of the circle of life in Uganda and in anywhere I am then and in the future.
I get to enjoy working with them with my undivided attention; you wouldn’t trade those smiles for anything. And at the end of the day, I can go back home, kick my shoes, put my feet up and enjoy my evenings recalling what I had done and what I will do next or, what I will do for dinner.
Home away from home.
For most people in the settlement, this is what they call home.
When before they live freely, roaming the streets without fear.
Finding everything they need.
Where children can play. You hear laughter like no cares in the world.
Now, they live under protection.
Because some people decided a life for them.
Where fighting becomes normal everyday life.
Men become greedy with power.
That they forget that the world is not only for them but for all.
Out of fear.
They run.They fled. They cry.
That one day, their life will be back to the way it was.
In their own home.
In their own land.
I like to take the car when I travel to and from Kampala from my home in Arua, almost 500 kilometers away. When alone in the car with the driver I get to see everything and take photos all I want, like this highway in front of me.
The bridge in front of me is the sign I am almost home after a little over six hours in the road. Two more and I will finally be at the comfort of it.
Meantime, I enjoyed watching the clouds in front of me and marvel at the blue skies that welcome me back in the north of Uganda.
Seriously, how can you not love doing development work when you see your team braving the midday sun to reach people in their homes. Not going for lunch until all are seen and given the time to share their stories.