Casting my mind back to 2010, I can remember many features of the visit very clearly.
So it was that my 2010 visit to Uganda consolidated, in my heart, my love for the people of Kabale in southwestern Uganda. From the moment that we were met in Kigali by the staff of Kigezi High School, through to the moment we were waved off from the school compound, it was clear that we really were no longer strangers. Conversations commenced in medias res as if we had only been talking just two minutes earlier.
|The author walks the red dust road. Uganda, 2010.|
Despite being in a country that is so alien to the United Kingdom, it was heartening to have people calling after you in the street. Ugandan faces from the year before like Peter, Penninah, Sebi, Ruth, Grace, Sister Evangelista and Charlotte all contributed to making a short visit to a remote corner of Uganda seem more like a homecoming.
The partnership itself has moved on. As I sat in the shade at Lake Bunyonyi with Raj, it was apparent that the notion to move the whole partnership forward was a serious one. In years to come the whole project hopes to have charitable status and to disseminate away from the traditional locus of operations at Kigezi High School to cover many other projects. Where I fit into this process I am unsure.
Upon my departure, meeting a lovely young Rwandese woman, Doroté, gave me a hint that not only would the project be focused in Kabale, but could easily start to move past the Ugandan border in the future.
On a personal level, as I head into the 2011 visit, I can reflect on my part in the trip as having been a success - I was given the responsibility for preparing my students from the UK prior to their departure and to ensure that they got the most out of the visit when in Uganda.
At the same time, I am also left reflecting on the fact that there is always so much more to do: an Islamic school is expecting another visit, families of Ugandan friends are expecting visits and I am left feeling that I would need at least a year here to achieve what I would really want to achieve.
And so after two weeks, time had ran away. Henry Austin Dobson once said, "Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go." To him I say, "yes we do go, but we'll be back again next April."