Kabalagala, Uganda

“Open up the window. trees dancing for you, birds singing for you, I told them to do so because I love you. Good morning : )” Life is hard for many … but I am faced daily with smiles, laughter and beautiful words such as this. Everyone moves effortlessly and happily over the uneven grounds of Kabalagala many barefoot and not looking down.

Poverty and sadness is the Africa our media has played over and over for us.. yet I do not see the sad faces. “Bye Muzungu!” “How are u Muzungu?” “Jambo!” I see them, I hear them ..they cover their mouths with their little hands and giggle with each other as they mimic my, “Jambo mukwano!” response. Beautiful welcoming eyes and smiles – they stop whatever they are doing to quickly run to the side of the road, waving hello, to catch my eye. I can not help but smile today. Children are resilient and resourceful… they only know what is in front of them. What we deem as dangerous in the western world is the norm for toddler and adult alike here in Uganda. We have been pampered because our standards of safety are so high and it takes a while for me to navigate through and around the large holes and fast moving boda bodas and vehicles without clenching my toes as vehicles whip by as I try to keep my focus on the ground at the same time. Many of these little ones maneuver effortlessly on their own walking at the edges of narrow roads and my African friends smile in disbelief as I tell them that our pets can not eat chicken bones and fish bones as their African pets can.

In both of our worlds, our children see the joy and wonder in everything around them. In our world, we have managed to loose that sense of appreciation as we are bombarded with what the media tells us what to have, what we should wear, how we should live, who we should love and what we should do without. The African world is now bombarded with western values that have been trojaned into their world via the world wide web and television and slowly we are getting to peek into their lives as our media slowly shows us that not every African lives in poverty and despair.

How different are we at the end of the day. Sadly, We need not look farther than our own backyard to see poverty and despair. Many of our First Nations people in Canada are living in what we deem as third world conditions. In both our worlds – we have pockets of incredible wealth. We point our fingers at ourselves for being a wasteful society but move up a notch in the economic ladder of Africa and I am taken aback when I see what food makes it to their garbage. How different are we at the end of the day when money is no object.

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