Wednesday, April 21, 2010

happy with a limp

so, we have been here 1 month. i can’t really believe it. i don’t know why i haven’t written more. this first month in uganda has been….hard. i guess there is no other way to really say it. i have thought about writing something and beginning to share life here but each time i sit down to write i just can’t. there are so many stories to tell…

…the one about the intricacies of furniture making

…the crazy things people do when they are finishing a house for you that they think you won’t notice like BIGHT GREEN mosquito screens

…what it feels like to look up at the stars with your son and realize you haven’t actually stopped to see the stars in a few years

…connections and difficult challenges i am making in yoga practice

…trying to describe how amazing it feels to have your feet filthy from red dirt and how awesome it feels to get them finally clean at the end of a long day

…how i went to a birthday party at the us military house (i didn’t know the us had a military house here either…that again is a TOTALLY different story to tell) and it was SO strange because it felt like i was at a frat party …with girls in mini skirts & leggings and a wii on the front lawn

…communal living when there is no water, no power and your son decides he wants to stop sleeping chasing butterflies, drawing in the dirt and dying easter eggs with a 2 year old makes me feel like a kid again.

…how it feels to know that your son just simply greeting an old man in their tribal language made the old man’s day so much he is probably still laughing and talking about it with his friends in the village

…how i am still in a little bit of mourning from not being in new haven, where i thought i would be

…how much malaria sucks

…what it feels like to worship with music both alone in my room with only with a guitar and my voice and in a loud vibrant ugandan church…how they both kind of feel like home

…how not much of anything feels like home and there have been moments that i have cried because i know this is where jesus has brought us, knowing that staying here is going to be a beautiful challenge…

…yes, indeed there have been stories to tell. the bad ones i haven’t wanted to tell at the risk of worrying mothers and dear friends who are far away…the good ones i haven’t wanted to share at the risk that mothers and friends would think that we are doing great. both felt a little shallow and incomplete….i guess they are. how can one month in a place where your world has been flipped upside down really tell anything different. so maybe i’ll just start telling them… so promise me mom, don’t freak out AND know that it isn’t all roses. so….meet happy!!

happy is ogeiko’s new friend, a 3 month old ugandan mut that is really just always happy. when she came over for the first time a few months ago she was very quickly named happy. all she wanted to do was play, run and snuggle up against your leg. she is just happy. so ben named her that.

she doesn’t belong to us but to the neighbor down the way. she is always here though. in fact i think there has only been 2 nights where she didn’t sleep right by ogeiko’s side. one of them was the night she was beaten for being a “thief.” the next morning she hobbled into the compound with a very sad broken leg and her tail still wagging…still happy.

after 15,000 ugandan shillings (roughly $7) the vet fixed her up with a cast and gave her some pain meds right with Judah and I watching on the front porch (which is an entirely different story for another time). she got up after the procedure (which also could have been mistaken for a mild form of torture) and just licked the very hands that were holding her against her will howling a few minutes before. she kissed the vet on the nose and then just hobbled off to find a shady spot to rest…tail still wagging. still, even still, happy just with a limp.

i don’t feel very much like happy with a limp right now. maybe more like a broken body that sometimes smiles and laughs pretty hard. i want the tables to turn and the scales to balance a bit the other way. maybe if i could find shady places to rest, friends to play with and be willing to show my broken paw.

the vet said he’ll be back in 3 weeks to take the cast off…a lot can happen in 3 weeks. bones can heal. wounds can be mended. i imagine happy will still be happy just minus the limp. maybe in 3 weeks the scales will look different for me too.


Sally Rymer said...

Kellen-- Your reflections remind me so much of how I felt my first month in India. Everything was overwhelming and confusing. Beauty was mixed with pain in ways I'd never experienced before. I was losing parts of myself and not yet finding new parts. I missed my hot showers, hated the bugs, wanted good food, etc., etc. But, those fields to rest in will be found, and the friends will come. The pain stays, but it is a pain that reminds you that you are alive-- fully and honestly alive. I've never felt such sadness as I have here, but I've also never been so alive. The fire is good for us sometimes. You'll come out better on the other side. Now, knowing which stories to share with moms-- I'm not sure anyone can figure that one out ;-)

Much love,

Holly and Ben Porter said...

You're a great writer my dear friend!

Lets find/make a shady spot to rest and play--a safe place where broken paws can be shown. Love you!

Casey said...

loved this! can't wait to meet happy!