Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shaking a Tail Feather

Yesterday was event-filled - a fabulous day!

We met at the Suubi building in Danita for Kirstin's clothing drive. Today Kirstin leaves Uganda after 3 months to travel back to Detroit. She had friends donate money to buy clothes here at the market to give away to the children in Danita - replacing worn, torn, and ragged clothes for a new set. It was quite the event managing the enormously long line (check out Kirstin's blog for a picture of the line). Word traveled quickly and it was hard to keep kids from pushing, cutting in line, and sneaking back in line after they received clothes - we ended up putting black permanent marker under their pinky fingernail (somewhere where they couldn't rub it off). In all we handed out clothing to over 400 kids - and there was still a line of kids after we ran out of clothes. Again, you just do what you can do because the needs are always going to be great.

And then we had our buying meeting with the new Suubi group, but instead of meeting in Danita at the building we met in Walukuba under the Jackfruit tree where it all started. And the old members came too - the first union of ALL the Suubi (hope) women! It was awesome to have them all in one place, and we attempted a group photo with all 120 women! But the real beauty was having the women share. Daisy introduced all the Suubi Board - the president, secretary, treasurer, etc. And then Santa (the president) spoke to the women and reminded them that they are all Suubi and emphasized the importance of unity and gratefulness. To be back in Walukuba with the women and see not 60 faces but 120 and to think of where this project has come in a year in a half when it was just a dream for Dave, Ruthie, and myself was overwhelming! Thank you to everyone who has donated, supported, volunteered, purchased, and sold necklaces - we couldn't be here without you!

And the real reason for being in Walukuba yesterday (as opposed to Danita) - room for dancing! That's right baby, at my request we got to do the traditional Acholi dancing!!! Huge drums, gourds, and chanting kept the beat. Hips adorned with clothes and beads made the moves. It is absolutely amazing to see the way these women move their bodies, it is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. And the best part, the moves I learned a year ago weren't that rusty, in fact I think they may have even improved! I kicked my sandals off, Catherine wrapped a clothe around my hips and I jumped in. I LOVE IT! It's so freeing and fun to be a part of sharing their heritage. Amberle and Kirstin also shook a pretty tail-feather! Yes - we had women laughing at times. But with hips and booties bouncing and bare feet turning red from the soil, it was awesome to be present and fully engaged - nothing quite like it (definitely one of my favorite pastimes, but I am sorta limited on when I can do it). I feel like I have a little Acholi blood running through my veins and afterwards (even though I was sweatdrenched) I had women come, hug me, and tell me that my dancing was better then theirs!

I love watching the women gather together. Despite being displaced from their homeland and living through the horrors of a civil war, they can still come together and be united in their heritage and culture. And the beauty of music and dance is that is transcends culture and so for a brief time I (we) get to participate in their heritage and feel the power of generations and heritage. I don't even know what culture in America is? - it seems that many of our ancestors gave up their culture, heritage, and traditions to buy into a superficial culture of money and 'things.' So I feel blessed to have the opportunity to fully engage in their culture - to be untied to these great women through dance. Once I get home and Dave edits footage- we'll share it with you!

The night was wrapped up with me taking all our LGH volunteers out to dinner at 2 Friends. We couldn't do it without their selfless giving and serving. Thank you - you guys rock!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see the dance, and maybe even do it someday! Love ya!