Monday, January 31, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Uganda's Homophobia - How to Cross the Line

Warning: I am about to release my opinions very candidly and bluntly, and it might offend you. Sorry. Actually, no...I'm not sorry at all.

I need to say before you read this that I love Uganda. The cultures, the people, and the beauty. But sometimes, I really dislike certain parts of the population, whom you will read about below. All of my comments are directed towards the ones that insist on carrying on with extreme homophobia that results in disgusting violence.

I haven't thought about this topic in a while... mainly because it really infuriates me and it challenges my anthropological instincts to stay neutral.

But this is ridiculous. CNN just reported that a Ugandan gay rights activist was bludgeoned to death in his own home. Watching this video fills me with sorrow and anger to know that this man is dead because of ignorance and intolerance. With such a close connection to Uganda and such a belief in the tolerance and appreciation for diversity, I have to say that this story is the last straw. I am truly embarrassed and ashamed for the people that committed this atrocious act and for their supporters.

While it may not seem like much, I am shocked at the courage of this man to speak to a Western news outlet about his sexuality and his fears for his safety. The Ugandan gay rights community has truly lost someone very special. If you've never read anything about gay rights in Uganda, there basically are none. Gayness is viewed as an abomination in what is a predominantly born-again Christian nation. Recently, laws inspired by right wing American groups have been tabled in the Ugandan Parliament. These laws call for the execution of "repeat" offenders, meaning anyone who has been accused of being homosexual on more than one occasion or even someone who fails to tattle on their possibly homosexual neighbor or friend. I should mention that a homosexual could face imprisonment for up to 14 years under the current anti-homosexuality law.

Here's a link to an article from Human Rights Watch in 2009 when the bill was making the news quite frequently.

From my experience in Uganda, I know that even those who feel that executing homosexuals is extreme have little tolerance for what they deem to be unnecessary differentiation from other Ugandans. If you read the comments below the article I linked to above, you'll see that some people said it was his fault because he managed to land himself on the "top homosexuals" list, which obviously means he wasn't being discrete enough about his sexuality. Why should he have to be? I've been able to observe that, for the most part, Uganda can be a place of conformity and keeping your opinions to yourself, especially where politics are concerned. But when it comes to homosexuality, there is no holding back when it comes to spewing pure hatred.

Some Ugandans stand by this policy as an assertion of their cultural rights and as a middle finger to Western intervention, which is ironic because Uganda has long been in the back pocket of the United States. What really baffles me, is that this man was killed in the name of Christianity and the belief that homosexuality is an offense to to God. Is cold-blooded murder not offensive? Do these people think God will reward them for so violently killing a man who did them no harm? Also ironic is that the Uganda Christian identity formed from colonization by the British. Additionally, the British established the original anti-homosexuality law in Uganda a long time ago, presumably because homosexuality was already present. This history tells us that homosexuality has always been in Uganda, and that the law against it came with Western intervention. This is the exact opposite of everything that the bill's supporters currently claim. They say that homosexuality was introduced (and is still being introduced) by Westerners and that the law needs to be tougher in order to rid the nation of this "embarrassing" portion of the population.

All I can say is that to the rest of the world, this plays out like ignorance, misguided education, and dangerous Christian fundamentalism that takes us back to Old Testament times.

If these people are attempting to assert their "Ugandanness", I think it is a hugely misplaced topic with which to establish an identity, not to mention a false identity. For my Ugandan friends who might read this, I implore you to open your heart and your mind and allow people to live as they wish to live. Whether you agree with it or not, homosexuality has absolutely no affect on how you conduct your life unless you want it to, and this can be positive or negative. Please choose to accept your homosexual friends with kindness and openness because they will need the support if popular opinion in Uganda continues in this direction.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How do you keep up with the news?

Like I said in my last blog, I like to keep up with the news, particularly African news. I don't know how many of you like reading the news or like being in the know on world issues, but for those of you that do... do you ever find the constant stream of information overwhelming? You can study up on one issue and then the next day it changes or the next day something else happens. Should you be somewhat aware of a broad range of issues or highly knowledgeable about just a few issues? Or a little bit of both?

Here's a little overview of what I'm trying to keep track of right now, on top of remembering that yes, I am still a student with homework and yes, I could be working on writing my thesis at any given moment of the day rather than what I have chosen to do with my time - like eat, sleep, watch season 6 of Lost or... write this blog.

Uganda: Obviously, I read Ugandan news every day. Recently, it's been about little else other than the upcoming February elections. I'll probably write a more in-depth post on this topic soon, but it seems that Ugandan news outlets are writing about what the rest of the world expects or hopes to happen and not what really is happening.

For instance, this article was posted today: Police arm heavily ahead of elections

It covers a few different issues, namely the fear that there will be violence no matter which way the election goes, whether or not the opposition has a chance (which opposition, you might ask), and the preparedness of the police and army. Of course, I think people should be prepared for anything, but now everyone just expects violence. Maybe I'm looking too much into the supposed group psychology of the issue, but it seems like expecting violence will only encourage it.

Sudan: It would be foolish to not keep up to date with Sudan right now. After all, after the referendum vote, South Sudan could be the world's newest country (and it looks like it will be). It will probably also be the world's weakest country, but we'll have to wait to see how that pans out. This referendum is a huge achievement for this much-troubled nation that has been engaged in conflict for decades. It's also a benchmark for the rest of Africa - Southern Sudanese are democratically electing to change their border to something that makes sense for the geographical and cultural area, rather than what colonizers laid out decades ago. What if every conflicted African nation could redraw their borders this way? Would it help to alleviate some problems? Or does it simply create new ones? Also, it's not like it was an easy road to come to this point, and most Sudanese would have rather had peace all along rather than a secession vote.

Here's the latest on the referendum vote: UN Secretary-General announces the end of the polling period

Also, the underreported Northern Sudanese side. Many are genuinely concerned that the country is falling apart, not just for the oil, but for the well-being of South Sudanese.

Cote d'Ivoire: This place has definitely been interesting lately. November elections ousted the former President Gbagbo and elected Ouatarra.... or at least they were supposed to. When Ouatarra was announced the winner, Gbagbo decided he actually wasn't ready to step down. Both men have large armies at their backs, the only difference being that Ouatarra also has the international community on his side, along with a few thousand UN peacekeepers. The situation has been worsening, and Gbagbo has refused to give up, despite several sanctions placed upon him and his supporters. It is feared that this will erupt into a civil war, which would further devastate a country healing from a conflict in 2002, not to mention the refugee situation that the tension and fear of war along with early violence is creating.

There are so many aspects to this situation, it would take another blog to unravel, but here's the latest: Ouatarra aims to close 'financial windows'

Tunisia: Last, but not least, Tunisia seems to have had a revolution, French style. I'm not so up to date on this one as I would like to be, but I do know that the people scared the president into fleeing into Saudi Arabia. Pretty interesting situation to keep up with on the BBC website.

So you see, those are only tiny little blurbs, but it's SO much information to keep up with. And to really understand what's happening now, you need to understand at least a little bit of the history of the situation. Out of context, these are simply elections and coups, but it takes a good historical background to understand the ramifications of these actions. So how do you keep up with the news around the world and keep up with your own life?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blogs of Transition

The only times I've ever written a blog have been when I was in Uganda. But why? Is my life in Tennessee not interesting enough to write about? I hope not. If it is, then I need to get out of here fast! Seriously though, I like sharing my observations about the world, so I decided to start blogging this semester - my last semester at the University of Tennessee. I felt like I needed a theme for this new direction with my blog, but a few suggestions from friends convinced me to keep it simple and just write about my life, which is pretty much a theme in itself. It also allows me to write about anything I want. There's also a fun surprise coming up with this blog that you'll just have to wait to see!

If you're new, here's a little about myself. I'm graduating with honors in May with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. I'm writing a thesis from my original research on cultural revival programs in northern Uganda, a post-conflict zone I have worked and lived in and a place where I have left a piece of myself. I'm running a project turning Acholi folk tales into cartoons, even though I'm a continent away from my team. I'm constantly reading news and other blogs about Africa in general, Uganda in particular, and other topics when it strikes my fancy. I'm a fan of Conan O'Brien, and I enjoy watching Grey's and Private Practice every week along with Glee. Feel free to judge me for my taste in television series. I don't know what I'm doing for grad school, but I'm interested in development, aid, human rights, anthropology, politics, and a wide range of similar topics, all of which tend to overlap. Before this starts to sound too much like a singles ad, I'll stop. I'm just letting you know all of this because I might be writing on any range of these topics in my blog. Plus, this could be a really fun time to follow along while I graduate and try to land myself a big girl job.

Did I mention that I'm moving to Uganda in July? Yeah... I'll be writing about that, too.

So, for my first blog entry, I've decided to write about a gem of a new tv show on ABC (note: sarcasm) called "Off the Map." Due to my aforementioned Grey's and Private Practice faithfulness, I was watching tv one night when I saw a commercial for this particular show. It's no doubt riding on the ever popular and romantic idea of Americans wandering into the deepest darkest jungles and saving the locals with technology and medicine. In fact, the show is pretty much built on this idea.

Now I know it's not like Grey's or Private Practice are particularly realistic, and they definitely romanticize the profession, so why should I be upset about Off the Map right? That's because there is a critical difference between the shows: Off the Map bases its storyline on the exploitation of a stereotype of poor third world people that need to be saved by the white man - a stereotype that often has serious implications in aid and development programs around the world. Mostly I'm talking about how this kind of image is used by countless organizations and NGOs to talk the money right out of your pocket and into their fund to save the starving children, whose images they used to lure you in. Some of you might wonder why this is a problem. If they're using badvocacy, but they get money, that's okay right? No, really it's not. But that's a long explanation that I'll try to get into in a later entry. For now I'll just say it's exploitation, and the means do not justify the ends.

For now, I want to get into discussing the highlights of this first episode a little bit.

Let's start with the title - "Saved by the Great White Hope." Now, I'm coming into this a little defensively, so I'll admit I was on edge from the get go. All kinds of horrible things were running through my mind about what exactly this "great white hope" might be. First, I imagined a scenario where some unnamed indigenous native is saved by a white doctor, thus he is the great white hope. Then I imagined they might talk about some local myth that the white doctor fulfills. Then I thought maybe it could be referring to a geographical land mark. Finally, my question was answered. The "great white hope" is actually a reference made by the latina doctor who has a scornful attitude towards Americans in general. She says this upon meeting an American doctor who professed her desire for helping. I'm glad it wasn't any of the options I had imagined, but what exactly is "the great white hope"? Is this some kind of reference to the Americans' need to play savior? Or is this saying that even though the new doctors were naive, their naivety helped to get them through the day?

The show opens up with a view of a beautiful, exotic jungle area. Then it says "Somewhere in South America." Okay. So... somewhere in South America? That's a whole continent, right? We can see that the locals speak Spanish, and they have a beach which obviously means they live on the coast. That pretty much means they could be anywhere in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, or Uruguay. Maybe we'll get some more clues as it goes along. If we do, perhaps we can use process of elimination to figure out where exactly they might be.

Now let's tackle the idea that they are in the only medical center for 200 miles. Maybe I'm just not up to date on my South America facts, but I know that in Uganda at least rudimentary clinics are fairly common, so I find it hard to believe that they are the ONLY clinic in such a large area. Then, let's look at how all of the doctors are American, except for our single latina woman. And none of them know how to speak Spanish. And they have one 10 year old translator? I mean, is this plausible? I assume there are some pretty remote clinics out there, but do organizations really throw doctors out there who have no language or culture training at all?

I admit, the show did a much better job of avoiding bad images of its indigenous people than I thought it would, but that could be because a good portion of their featured patients were tourists. If they can stick with focusing on the doctors and the tourists, they might be able to avoid offending too many people. If you're not into the whole developing world scene then you will probably find this show very enjoyable. As far as entertainment goes, it definitely met the goals. As far as realism goes, it misses the mark for me. I know, I know - it's a tv show, and I'm taking it too seriously. I guess Off the Map just wasn't made for me. I'd like to watch next week to see if it gets any better. I really can't explain why it is that its inaccuracy rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I just need to lighten up and enjoy the entertainment, but I don't think I can really become a respectable fan of this particular show. Feel free to share your opinion!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Modest Attempt at Summarizing My Time in Gulu

I know I haven’t exactly been a saint at keeping up with my blog, but still I felt the need to write a final entry to attempt to sum up my time here (even though that would be impossible). I hate reading sappy blogs about how much you loved the sunset and the people and the kids and how much you hate to be leaving and can’t wait to return. And I hate writing blogs like that even more. As much as that may be true, does anyone really want to read your sentimental mess? So... I’ll condense my sappiness into a list. Yes, it gets a little cheesy in the “Things I won’t forget” section, but allow me a little cheese, please. You’ll see I’ve compiled three lists: things I learned, things I won’t forget, and things I want to forget. I’m not going to sugar coat it and pretend that every day on this trip was the best day of my life. So you get to hear about some of the bad days, too. But I hope you’ll notice that “things I learned” and “things I won’t forget” far outnumber the list of “things I want to forget.”

Things I learned
• How to strategically walk through the dry mud after a rain shower
• How to successfully hail a boda and get the right price
• How to speak a little bit of Luo
• The grueling process of getting funding for your project
• The grueling process of transcribing interviews
• How to conduct an interview
• How to cook chapati, greens with eggs, cabbage, and stewed chicken
• How to clean like an Acholi woman (still not good at it, though, so don’t worry)
• If you want to go somewhere in Kampala that’s only 11 km away, plan for 2 hours of travel time
• How to plan my day around the impending rain showers
• I love roasted pork. I just love it.
• The appropriate times to use “Apwoyo,” “Apwoyo-ba,” and “Apwoyo-rii ba”
• Most cats here are NOT nice and neither are the dogs
• How to kill a chicken
• It is not easy to find a house in Gulu, and once you do you’ll probably have children peeping in your windows in your new neighborhood
• Publishing a comic book is difficult... until you remember the resources at your disposal and send out a mass email
• When you’re putting on a concert for a fundraiser (FUNDRAISER), you still have to let in all the artists and their buddies for free
• The proper channels of bureaucracy at Gulu University and what happens when you don’t follow the bureaucratic rules
• I am addicted to Coca-Cola
• Self-directed research is not easy, and it’s even intimidating at times
• How to convert meters into feet, kilometers into miles, liters into cups, etc.

OurJuly 4th dinner..... before it was cooked.
Our beautiful stack of perfect chapati.

Things I won’t forget
• All the sunrises and sunsets I had the honor of witnessing
• The big, BIG sky
• The long rides I spent looking out the window and being amazed at where I was
• All the friends I’ve met
• Dinners out at our favorite restaurants in town (Sankofa, Tom’s, MealTime, Bomah, Indian, Ethiopian, etc.)
• Interviewing residents of Gwengdiya Parish in Awach Sub-County
• Interviewing women in Aworanga (and having dinner there!)
• Traveling to Madi-Opei – a village on the border of Sudan and climbing the mountain
• Traveling to Baker’s Fort (and the unexpected lonnnnnng car ride)
• Killing the chicken (see: Things I want to forget)
• Our July 4th Celebration
• The wonderful weekend vacation in Jinja, the boat ride on the Nile, and the untamed rapids around the islands
• The weeks I spent working with Pincer
• The moment I read the kids evaluations from CreatEd and felt like we had actually accomplished something worthwhile
• Alll the lunches at pork joints around town trying to discover the best one (it’s the one by Independent Hospital, by the way. Pieces of pork fried with tomatoes, onions, cabbage, Irish potatoes and Royco.... yes, please!)
• Traveling to Entebbe with Andrew and Jayanni to see the beaches – Lake Victoria is beautiful!
• Foot-bowling on July 4th
• CreatEd classes at Koro Secondary School and Gulu High School and watching the kids really get excited about something
• Early morning Luo lessons in Phoebe’s apartment
• The energy, excitement, and joy you can see when people are really performing traditional dances
• Reading Eat.Pray.Love
• Girls’ night at Bomah
• Watching the first appearance of the Gulu Elephants Rugby Team
• The day that Sankofa opened and I had a glorious pizza in Gulu
• Cooking traditional dinner with Sam, Jeff, and the girls
• Nights out in Gulu and Kampala and all the fun we had dancing until the early morning hours
• Hearing the call to prayer at the mosque at 5:00 and 5:30.... and at 6:00.
• Mango Season. Enough said.
• All the fun I had shopping for skirts, dresses, and crafts
• Seeing Chairman Mao (not the Chinese one) deliver his speech for the launch of his Presidential campaign at Bomah grounds in the rain
• Attending the wang’oo in Bungatira (and ALL the stars you could see in the sky!)
• Beatrice, Tom, and Milton and the rest of the wonderful team at Pincer
Forgot this one: the safari in Murchison Falls

View from the mountain in Madi-Opei. Why yes, that is Sudan.

Beautiful Lake Victoria!

Hippos in Murchison Falls

Cleaning the compound in Aworanga

Baker's Fort: Beautiful scenery with a tragic history.

And things I want to forget
• The all-hours traffic, boda men, and drunk men noise outside my bus park window
• Long bus rides
• Riding bodas home in the rain and the mud
• Cockroaches. Cockroaches. Cockroaches.
• Any and all overly dramatic moments that occurred between the months of January and August
• Killing the chicken (See: Things I won’t forget)
• Being bombarded by children every time we left the Pece house (and those same kids trying to steal things)
• That one time I tried to start jogging and almost got hit by a car, then was sore for a week
• The horrendously frustrating act of having to call school teachers every Tuesday and Friday to remind them that we ARE coming, only to sometimes find out that we can’t because of some program or other
• The July 11th bombings in Kampala and the paranoia that ensued
• Cold showers/Bucket showers
• The terrifying way your room can be dusty again the day after you cleaned it
• Sitting in various ticket booths for hours on end hoping we were making some money for Music for Peace

That chicken never stood a chance.

Just outside my apartment. A bus park full of men ready to call me "mzungu" at the first chance.

I think I have enough sentimental sap in my lists, but I just need to say that it’s a strange feeling. It’s strange how I’ve been here, building a life, a social network, a working network – and now, in just 5 short days I’ll be going back home. I’ll be reorganizing my days for my American schedule and my American timeframe and goals. I’ve been here so long that nothing feels unusual anymore. This is truly my second home, and it is devastating to know that I won’t be back here for a year. I have to say, though, there’s something about leaving that makes you oddly sentimental about your surroundings, and you start to look at everything again as if it was the first time you were seeing it. Things that used to annoy me on a daily basis now have the ability to make my day. So, with that said, thank you harassing boda men for making my last few days in Uganda so memorable.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Starting a New Routine

My last post talks about how concerned I am about making my research the best, and as thorough, as I possibly can. This is still very much the case. But I found through the course of my interviews that the stress I was feeling and the struggle of forcing my interest in the topic was making me miserable, which has led me to tweak (or detour) my research in a new direction. This new direction neither invalidates my previous research or builds on the topic of cultural revival, it takes the background from my previous interviews and picks out the specific point that piques my interest: women’s empowerment.

While this topic is certainly nothing new (there have been women’s empowerment programs for decades), its place in Acholi society is unique. First of all, the typical family structure prevents the woman from having much of a voice in decision making whether for the kids, how the money is spent, or where she lives. But for some women, this changed when organizations like the World Food Programme began distributing food in IDP Camps – just to women. This placed the women in positions of power, making them the breadwinners for the family, essentially reversing the traditional gender roles. Now that people are moving out of the camps, women want to maintain their status as the “breadwinner,” but many husbands feel threatened by this. In many cases, this shift has resulted in domestic, gender-based violence against women.

Another aspect is that of girls’ education. If a family has two children, a boy and a girl, but they don’t have enough money to send both to school, they will almost always send the boy and leave the girl at home. This is simply because eventually, the girl will be married and sent to live with her husband, and the family will have received nothing in return for spending money on her education. Several young women I have spoken with have said that the war was actually good for them. That it showed the people the importance of educating their girls.

Given that the wore has caused so much damage and trauma, can we look at these two areas and say that the war was actually beneficial for women, in a broad sense? And now that many organizations like CARE International and ACORD are directly targeting women for economic development projects, how are they training communities and husbands and children on the importance of women’s empowerment? How are they affecting the cultural structure for gender roles? Should they be changing cultural practices?

These are all questions I will attempt to confront in the next few months. I had planned to be finished with my research by tomorrow and then be able to close this chapter of this trip. But the thought of researching and writing a thesis on my previous topic for the next year made me miserable. Why, you might ask? It’s simple: As much as I admire Acholi cultural practices – the energetic dances, the colorful costumes, the unique music – I cannot be personally connected to it, and part of me feels that as an outsider, I shouldn’t be. But for women’s empowerment – I feel that womanhood transcends cultural boundaries. No matter where I am in the world, I can find and relate to women and I can truly sympathize with what they’re going through. I’m not saying that I have ever been through anything that most of these women have experienced – death, kidnapping, rape, murder, devastating loss, decades of war. But I do know what it’s like to grow up as a woman, constantly fighting the stereotypes and societal rules placed upon our gender. And in this sense, I feel that I can have a personal connection with my research. I can read these articles all day, every day, and I can interview participants on such a more intimate level. In short, I can be passionate about it. My interest in this has even led me to consider a graduate degree in women’s studies and explore job opportunities and internships with CARE.

So for the next few months, I will probably be outrageously busy conducting my research, working on CreatEd, and getting the first cartoon published. My research should take 2-3 days a week. CreatEd kicks off with some serious organizational meetings on the 19th, and the program begins in schools on June 1st, so I’ll be with CreatEd 2-3 days a week at that point. Then we have the cartoon project (I saw Vinny’s cartoons today, and this thing is going to be so great!). Soon, the artists will be editing in Adobe Photoshop, and I’ll be traveling around Gulu and Kampala begging for grants or partnerships and seeking out the right publisher.

To summarize: Think I’m on vacation, now?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Throw Down Your Heart

I like to have a schedule. I like to know that I’m going to start with A, take a break and work on B, then finish with C, knowing that by the end of all my work I will have accomplished something worthwhile. I don’t necessarily like being committed to time slots; I still like to go with the flow of things. But I want to have the structure.

But here, I never know what I’m going to do when I wake up in the morning. Sure I might have an interview scheduled, but as soon as that interview’s over I have to have something else to do. I have to constantly be striving for the next interview, the next chance to observe, the next chance to travel to a village.

And it’s exhausting.

I try to relax and remind myself over and over again that I will find something to do – something incredible and educational will happen. But it’s so hard sometimes.

For example, I’ve been trying to meet with the Paramount Chief for weeks now. I’ve met several people around his office and interviewed many of them and made some really worthwhile connections. One of these being with the Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi Cultural Group, which is a group of young people that get together each week to practice Acholi dances. I interviewed their leaders, and I was invited to join them for practice on Sunday.

The practice started out slowly. I was told to arrive at 3:00 pm, and for some reason I decided to show up on time, even though I knew better. The only people there were the kids, and we were simply waiting for the adults to show up so the real practice could start. But while we waited, a group of about 30 children under the age of 10 started practicing their own dances. The little boys played rhythms on the drums while other boys and girls performed the carefully practiced courtship dance. It wasn’t perfect, no – they were practicing after all. But these children didn’t have an adult coach that was telling them to stop when something wasn’t right or directing their missteps. Their coach was a 7 year old boy who directed all the other children with confidence and ease. And the children listened to him, and they danced and enjoyed themselves – totally self-directed. Their parents may have taken them to the center to learn, but they poured their whole hearts into it on their own.

I had this experience by accident. I was invited to join this dance group in the process of looking for something else. The truth is, it scares me when I wake up on Monday morning and don’t know what my week or even my day will look like. I’m afraid that if I don’t get out there, I’ll miss talking to a key informant or I’ll miss an opportunity for visiting a village. I want my research to be the best it can be. I want to finish in May and know that I did the best I could. That I looked under every rock I could find to dig up information.

There have been enough people in this town conducting research that amounts to nothing. Will my research amount to nothing? And not just for my own self-gratification. I’m intruding on peoples’ privacy. I go to their homes and ask them questions about their personal lives, and in some cases my visit brings hope for a better future, regardless of the fact that I’m powerless to change anyone’s future here. Will all of this be for nothing? If I don’t do the best job I can, I’m letting all of these people down. I owe it to everyone I interview and everyone I will interview, every life that I touch.

That’s why I wake up stressed on Monday. I want to do my best to honor the contribution of all of my friends that have contributed and the professors that have guided me.

But I know that almost every Monday, I wake up and receive a phone call or I take my own initiative to visit a place. And that is when I usually have the best experiences and meet the best people. It takes a lot of faith to not know what’s going to happen next. It even terrifies me, sometimes.

But if I continue to stand on the edge of my comfort and refuse to jump, my feet won’t land on anything at all because they never even left the ground.

Gulu is helping me to find beauty in the unexpected.