圖片、文字: Weichun Chang
Dry season has arrived in Uganda during July and prolonged to August. A drastic change can be found in daily temperature, with only 20℃ in the early morning. Unlike the unbearable humidity in Taiwan, sunshine makes its way through my windows every morning and wakes me up to the exhilaration.
For an overseas traveler, such weather and greenery are more to satisfaction. However, working abroad, at times I think of what I missed back there in home – family quality time on Sunday nights, TV shows on weekdays, cousins’ weddings, grandpa’s death. Whenever my mind wandered, I’m once again touched by the love of sacrifice that God has made for us, that He manifested as a human, limited by time and space – when Jesus was in Galilee, he could impossibly be at Samaria. Sometimes I wish I could have the magic of Hermione Granger, the fictional character in Harry Potter, who once cast a split magic for two overlapping courses. But I’m not.
During the interview in Love Binti northern training center, I realized there were many students from Ajumani, the district holding the biggest refugee settlement. The girls were informed by Pastor James of the opportunities to access the vocational trainings from 250 kilometers away, there in Lira.
“I didn’t have money to proceed my education from the small-scale business.” muttered Kate. With the third-born in arms, she intentionally avoided direct eye contact with us. The instinct words lingered in her mouth.
Not only Kate, I found most women in rural areas low in self-esteem, resulting from their unsustainability and lack of better education. In spite of homesickness, leaving is the only choice they have. As a mother, a sister, a daughter, they always need to take up all the responsibilities and turn the sorrow into power.
“This is the third term. You can see the environment. It’s good. I become to like it and I can learn a lot.”
Another girl was about to finish the one-year program. She confessed that if it were not Pastor James’s insistence, she would’ve not overcome her fear to leave her hometown. We would’ve not seen the significant change in the girls – the gradual build-up of self-confidence. The girls have brushed off the dust of the past, been satisfied with what they’re doing and who they are. Facing the same challenges, they’ve learned to help others. When it comes to their dreams, they proudly said that they wanted to start up a tailoring shop, and acquire more knowledge in school.
People in Kampala are rarely born in the city. Instead, they came to seek a job other than farming. It prompts me to think of the time I arrived in Uganda, when I met a Muslim girl on the flight landing on Entebbe. She had been working in Dubai for three years without return, to financially support her family.
“I’m sorry, you must miss your family a lot. Welcome home!” I replied her politely.
Before I knew it, her eyes were soaked with tears. She cried out the overloaded burden and frustration altogether. For many times, she ponders on the reason why she has no choice but to leave away from home, to be lonely abroad, to start working at her young age, and to suffer the financial burdens. It was the very moment that I realized “being understood” could come with such power. An apology, a sentence of comfort can always act as a loyal comrade who gets your back on the battle field of life. And you, yourself, cannot help but shed the tears of joy.