Monday, June 30, 2008

Poule, Poule

Poule, Poule, Nemuyendo....Harraca, Harraca, Hieyna Barraca
A proverb meaning: slowly, slowly things will come...quickly, quickly, accidents happen.

I have found this to be the way of life in Uganda; poule, poule. Many factors about the country and culture create a much slower pace. Simply the climate within the country is one limiting factor. No one would dream of rushing around in the heat of is simply an impossibility. Culturally, rituals and long ceremonies (five or six hour weddings) all contribute to a more relaxed pace.

This tendency to move more slowly here, I have found, breeds patience. For example, gaining internet connection to write this post has taken several fleeting attempts and bad connections :)
Thus, in taking more time to accomplish tasks, one has more time to gain perspective and truly absorb the work you are doing and fully experience the moments.

Recently, some of the more poignant moments have been in those slow-pace times: teaching hop-scotch and back-bends to the village kids, learning my Lugandan numbers while preparing pineapples for planting, going for runs with the farm puppy Cliff (which is a real shock for everyone we meet... a Muzungu and a dog as a pet, two bizarre sightings in one).

This slow pace really manifests itself on the farm in a beautiful way. There we work together planting and caring for crops and animals. (Funding from AGRADU went to a new animal husbandry program, so I have literally been playing "mama hen" to 500 baby chicks).

After planting together we also harvest together, cook together and finally share long meals and conversations together.The connection to the land and to one another is a welcome change of pace from the supermarkets and immediate gratification that is so common in the U.S.

Of course the slower pace can lead to frustration and there are times when I feel unproductive and I could do more "if only..." . Yet, despite the frustrations and occasional feelings of still moves on: poule, poule.

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