05 July 2010


Yesterday, as I was watching fireworks from my deck and trying to remember what summer is actually supposed to feel like (since it was in the 50s, overcast and raining here, on the 4th of July, no less), I started thinking about how this will probably be my last 4th of July in the States for a few years.

So I tried to spite the weather and enjoy it anyway.

It was a funny feeling, though, watching people celebrate America while I'm trying to prepare myself to leave it.

I mean, sure, we Americans are overweight and loud and probably don't appreciate enough just how well we have it. But we're also genuine and tolerant and diverse and polite. Or, most of us, anyway. And hey, at least we're not Canadians.

But as much as I like this country, I also love leaving this country.

And while I'll miss celebrating the 4th of July, I'll also be looking forward to October 9, 2012, when Uganda celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence from England. After, at that point, having spent two years in Uganda, I feel like I'll be able to appreciate both the celebrations and the inevitable reflections on the past and the present, and where to go in the future.

And nine months after that, I'll be back here, to celebrate and reflect on -- and in -- America.

03 July 2010

Block Quote.

A summation.

The devastation, the wrenching heartbreak of the AIDS crisis in Africa.
At the graveyard, there was a struggle: there was no space left for new graves, not space for the coffin of even a frail and wasted twelve-year-old. And so in the end, they reopened the grave of Mpho's mother, dug down, and buried her daughter on top.
And yet, ultimately, almost inexplicably, there is hope.
"It is not God's plan that people die at eight years old. Or twelve. Or thirty. God gives us the knowledge and skills to prevent or postpone death. Now it's about what people do. We've never seen a disease so vulnerable to the right policies. HIV is not like cancer. If I adopt a combination of prevention approaches, and protect the blood supply, the disease will retreat like it did in the U.S. We know what works. We can defeat AIDS if we do the right things. And we know what those are."
These are quotes from Stephanie Nolen's 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa. Read it. It will enlighten you, then break your heart, then frustrate you, then piss you off, then inspire you. It's done all those things to me and I haven't even finished it yet.