On Monday, we hosted a meeting for American Citizens in our home. There were 15 of us gathered...including the Consular from the Embassy. He drove in just for the meeting and shared information on several important topics.
Here is my summation:
1. Stand Fast--I think this phrase sounds so military and important. It basically means "stay home"....but that sounds so ordinary.
This was the reccommendation concerning the day of the Presidential Election next week and the days following...especially the day the results are released.
2. Sell the Poultry Farm--We don't actually have one...but there could be very tough times ahead for those who do. The Bird Flu has reached the Africa Continent (specifically Nigeria)...so task forces are being formed, money is being doled out and precautions are being taken. We were advised not to handle live poultry and to prepare to (ahem...) Stand Fast in case of quarantine. There is a large CDC (Center for Disease Control) office in Kampala so Uganda should be well equipped to handle problems if the need arises.
3.Electricity Joy--We were told it would probably get worse before it gets better. Apparently, diesel generators have been brought in to provide the little power we are currently receiving which in effect means--- diesel shortages. No generators...less power. That is unless God graciously dumps eight feet of water in Lake Victoria soon.
I have been about this international living for over 10 years now. And I always enjoy the dynamics of American gatherings overseas.
In our living room were:
-- four 20-something Peace Corp volunteers...living on nothing, serving, sharing, volunteering, missing home.
--one single woman, who in her 50's decided to take all of her money, leave her home in Hawaii and move to Fort Portal....to help orphans. And she has...
--seven missionaries...from California, Oregon, Texas, Pennsylvania and South Africa...from different backgrounds, doctrines and training...but (check this out) One Christ
--one Catholic sister...she came to Ft. Portal for 3 years and has stayed 34. Amazing.
--and one American Embassy consular staff person...willing to drive to our town to give us information....
We shared something. Citizenship.
We are all foreigners, stand-outs, Mzungu (white men). We exist and cope in surroundings and world views that will never be our own. We came because we CHOSE to. We stay, because we feel we have something to offer. And yet, we all maintain citizenship in a place that means the world to us. Home.
For one hour on Monday, we gingerly stepped back into the bounds of American politeness and greeting. We told American jokes. We wallowed in the joy of information...true, factual and precise. Our greetings were shy at first. We were shifting our minds back to our American rules of social order. But we got there and in many ways, relaxed into the social acceptance we understand.
I love the diversity our life here allows. I love the international understanding I have gained.
But I adore the American-ness of me. I am a West Texas born girl. Who always sings the National Anthem at football games(though I haven't been to one in awhile). And whose heart races everytime she sees Old Glory waving in the wind.
I'm glad for all the flavors of this life. And for the joy of being a Citizen.
"Ohhhh, Say,can you see...."