july 6, 2009 — around 6:30 p.m. — kotido, uganda (karamoja)
todays dusk is cloudy.
the mountain toror is only half visible, half being covered in a blue-gray cloud.
i hope it is gifting rain on the villages at the base of the mountain.
we all need it.
it is at a cloudy-cool-dusk that is threatening rain that karamoja seems to become something different.
it is during these rare cloudy-cool-dusks when i am out walking that perhaps i realize more fully where i am.
more so than when the sun beats down on my foreign skin.
perhaps it is too hot to consider myself foreign when it is too hot.
and when it is dark–the darkness covers all differences.
it is easy to forget where i am when it is dark.
easy to forget the different contours of the land. easy to forget the poverty and hunger around me. easy to forget my foreignness.
but these dusks.
it is as if the low blue-gray clouds hold my differences closer to my face.
it keeps them from vanishing into the perfectly cloudless blue sky–from flying over the mountain toror to the west with the stones the elders throw casting all bad things away from karamoja…
i look up into the clouds, half asking them to let me alone–i just need to go to the market–half asking them if they know what i’m doing here, i seem to forget easily.
they make no response. neither movement nor drop of rain. just silent blue-gray clouds, hang low and not raining–holding my difference too close to my eyes for comfort.
but i love these dusks.
as i walk home from the market i come close to the mosque–and hear prayers going on within.
it is then i feel the first raindrops.
i stop to listen to the call to remind the faithful to pray.
an old woman laughs and asks if i am lost.
“mam. alosio lo ere.”
“no, i am going home.”
i nod toward the compound where my home is.”
she turns around and looks that direction, looks back at me laughs again, and says with humor and question in her voice:
so i walk, home, when it rains at dusk in karamoja.
home. despite my forigenness.
home. despite my lack of understanding.
home. because love is here.