Last year I asked what you wanted to know about life in Gulu. As you can see I haven’t been exactly prolific in the blog writing this year but here I hope to answer at least one of your questions. Someone asked
“What is the hardest thing about living in Gulu?”
I don’t have to think long for an answer, it’s raw..and ongoing.
It’s a life of goodbyes.
One of the absolute joys of a life overseas is meeting such a wonder variety of people. People from the place you are living and others who are also from foreign and far off lands. The more you get to know folks from other cultures the more you actually understand your own and how the world that you grew up in affects who and how you are, in a thousand subtle but pervasive ways.
I feel like an almost continuous conversation we have with our friends is about culture and how we see and do things differently. I hadn’t realised just how British I am! I have a whole dictionary of British vernacular that I hadn’t realised was British until other English speaking friends tell me that they haven’t the foggiest what I am on about. (Although they don’t say foggiest!)
It truly is an incredible blessing to meet so many people who see the world differently, who celebrate different things, you eat different things and certainly laugh at different things. It would appear I’m not as funny as I thought I was.
The only problem is with meeting all these wonderful folk is that you can get rather attached! There is something about these relationships that seems to speed up the ‘getting to know you’ process and you may have only known someone for a year but you have shared so much, they ‘get it’, so it seems like they have been friends for life. Then they leave. I am immensely grateful for each of those indiviuals and for the time we had together. I am genuinely a different person because of these people. I am forever changed, and I trust for the better.
However, the last 12months have been particularly painful. It felt like almost every month a much loved friend would leave for their passport county. As the saying goes…
Better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all.
True, but hard.
So there you have it, the hardest part of living in Gulu is the transient community we are part of. However, it’s our community here is one of the best things too. Thankfully we do have the consistency of our Ugandan friends and colleagues, although one day it will be us doing the leaving, heading back to our passport country. Not yet though. So while we are here I will try to keep my heart soft, to welcome the new comer and enjoy the time we have together.