August 22, 2010
I think it's the job of a writer to take you places that you haven't been yourself.
I remember the first time I read Out of Africa, and felt like someone had transported me from my parent's front porch to Karen's coffee plantation in Kenya.
I desire to take you to Uganda - to the people that I have seen, and to their struggles, because they are many.
I am committed to telling the stories of the men, women and children that I met. I am committed to bringing their faces before you, and transporting you from your living room the smells, sights and sounds in Luwero's poorest villages - but it's going to take some time.
Bear with me, while I sleep and think and soak in what it looks like to be driving on an open highway without overloaded coal trucks, bicycles and empty jerry cans. I got a pedicure today, and took out my extensions. Tuesday I'll get my hair done, and after I finish up with these monster eyebrows I'll look myself again. But inside, I'd like to think I'm a whole world of different. A friend grabbed me this morning and just said, "changed?" I nodded, and she said, "good."
Brooke Fraser sings of the Rwandan people that, "I am on a plane across a distant sea/but I carry you in me/On the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet." I identify with her. Today I went out to sushi with friends, who insisted on buying not only that but coffee for me afterwards - and as we drove to the restaurant in a Miata with the top down, I thought about Joyce and Katende, about Cossy and Isaac and Millie, Morris and Cesar, Teddy - and I wondered how Esther has been faring the past few days. I catch myself measuring the time difference, thinking through what they all might be doing while I'm driving my dad's truck with the windows down, cooking breakfast for Beta, watching Coco Chanel with my mom.
By the time I finish telling their stories, the stories will be half stale, because they are people - with laughter and emotion, and lives that are moving forward as I write these very words.
I have never before prayed that my writing would make a thing tangeable like I do as I write about Africa.
I have no inhibitions about being honest concerning my desire to move you to action on behalf of the people of Uganda.