Well we’ve been here for a month now, and to mark this milestone I had my first experience with ill health while in Uganda – food poisoning. The experience of not having many of the conveniences Paul and I are used to while being sick (such as a toilet we don’t have to walk through the rain to get to, a store from which to buy cold ginger ale, a tub with running hot water…mainly a toilet though!) has caused me to reflect on how blessed most Canadians are.
In fact, even while I was being sick we heard a song being played that is used to announce someone’s death in the village. I later found out that it was a forty year old man who had died, and I wonder if his death could easily have been prevented if he had some of the conveniences that Paul and I are used to.
Another example: While I was reading under a tree on Saturday, a little girl took a terrible tumble off the dilapidated teeter totter in the playground by our house. No one else was around, and I went to help this distressed child who now had a large goose egg on her head and blood coming out of her mouth from biting her lip in her fall. My first thought was to put some ice on her wounds, but right away I realized that we don’t have a freezer with ice in it here. Then I got to thinking how ironic it is that in Canada, such a cold country, there are an abundance of freezers and fridges, while refrigeration is a rare thing for many (rural) Ugandans living in a much hotter climate!
Anyway, the point isn’t to make Canadians living with many conveniences feel bad. The point is to recognize how materially blessed many of us Canadians are. The point isn’t to make rural Ugandans out to be poor, deprived folk either. Contrarily most of them are content, joyful, and fully alive, without the material blessings that we’re used to – another irony! I guess life is full of ironies. If anything is clear though, it’s that I have a lot to learn about life from my village community here.