Home is where the heart is
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 9:22 PM [+]
Now of course, REAL home is in Poulsbo Washington where may be found my family, my farm, and my Parish. But I've gotten in the habit of referring to the Project House as "home"...such as in the context as telling someone in the lab at the end of the day: "I'm going home now." But as I ponder the use of the term, I am finding that I FEEL more at home in the lab with my Ugandan friends. In other words...in many ways...I find I have more affinity for most Ugandans than my American colleagues or likely most Muzungus I've met here. Good people though they are, there is no doubt I am a minority in many ways amongst most of them.
While watching the Baptism (see previous post), a woman came over and watched along with me and began asking questions though I don't think she expected that I could answer them. She noted how religious Ugandans are and then she asked me if I was religious, after having answered so many questions. I said that I was Eastern Orthodox and then she went on to ask: "Do you practice?" I said simply, yes...but of course the real answer would be: "I wouldn't be it, if I didn't practice it."
I find amidst my friends in the lab they I may freely speak my heart on any number of issues, and it is odd for one cannot comfortably speak of religious matters in my lab at home or in any of my work contexts...at least not in the same sense. And I can see the stark contrasts in social morals, and home for me in this regard is definitely not amongst the enlightened, liberal, and highly educated muzungus.
My Ugandan brothers and sister would say that the violation of someone's reproductive rights means they were raped, not denied the right to kill their unborn baby.
They count a large family as a blessing from God, not a social and environmental drain that ought to be taxed by the government to dissuade their coming into being.
God is foremost on their minds and in their hearts and they speak of Him readily, rather than noting "god" as a concept to be ridiculed as an adult version of an imaginary friend. Or just something not to be talked about at all.
Whether it happens or not in Uganda, extra-marital sex is wrong to them and furthermore, there is indeed a real right and wrong...not some amorphous tangle of unverifiable opinions.
And when I speak of the moral laxity back home (mine own included, but not justified), we shake our heads together and dismayingly wonder at what has become of us...in contrast to celebrating said laxity.
The list could go on and on.
Back in Seattle, I've always recognized my minority status in the context of my work and how home is a respite to familiarity and acceptance, but in Uganda the contexts are blatantly reversed.
Just the other day, in the context of a discussion about the much maligned term: "family values", I was told, very quietly, by one of my friends in the lab: "You seem more like a Ugandan than a Muzungu."
I laughed and told him that what he says is in many ways true, and I further said if I had remained an Anglican (which I wouldn't have of course)I would have been FAR more at home with a Ugandan Bishop than an American one. He understood quite well.