Written by Cora Xiao, Business Intern
Uganda. Before coming to Shanti the word conjured up images of conflict and poverty. My impression of the nation was horribly ignorant, informed only by the violence and madness of the nation portrayed in fear-mongering blogs, Hollywood movies, and Wikipedia’s sizeable page about Idi Amin. I know now how wrong I was.
It now for me conjures images of postcards of beautiful pictures that actually don’t do the natural beauty justice; of village kids running the length of a marathon with arms spread to give big hugs and high-fives; of music (off-tune renditions of Celine Dion included) playing from every store and passing ice-cream seller.
Most importantly it conjures up images of comfort and family. When I had a hard time in my first few weeks here (missing family, home etc.) I found no better solace than in the grins of locals who greeted a perfect stranger or the WIGG women who didn’t regard me as a foreigner to be cautious around, but as an immediate addition to the Shanti family.
My ideas about Uganda were once media-informed, fuelled further by my fellow movie-consuming family and friends. Now that original image has been coloured over by my experiences. While still viewed through my own ignorant-prone perspective, somehow thinking about Uganda leaves me with nothing but a warm feeling.
But here I am lamenting and reminiscing while I still have one more month in Uganda. I think it’s just enough for some quality family time.