Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tutu onana, Uganda!

In this part of Africa, small distances make a big difference. Travel a few kilometers, and you can be in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. But despite the short distances, each of these places has its own unique and often tragic stories. Having just returned to Goma in DR Congo, I am reminded of the stark contrasts that exist in this small part of Africa.

Though relatively safe, Goma is a place that can keep a mzungu on edge. The border guards, customs, police, or anybody in authority wants one thing - $10. That is the price of no hassles, though only for a moment. Street children, mamas, and others via for your attention on the street.

But despite this, Goma is a wonderfully beautiful place. Lake Kivu is serene. Mt. Niragongu puffs quietly in the distance, and women parade around in a riot of colors. And the physical beauty is matched by the warmth of the people (provided they're not in a position of governmental authority!). The joy of people here makes the city infectious, and is one of the reasons I keep coming back.

But Goma is also a place to make you ask, "what am I doing here?". It's expensive, and not exactly a tourist trap. So you probably want to have a pretty good reason to be around. Every time I get here, I seem to continuously ask myself this question: what's my purpose?  What am I achieving by being here? It's a good sentiment for keeping myself on task, but it can also lead to deriving my sense of worth from my output. I have to keep in mind that my worth is independent from my work.

No comments:

Post a Comment