C u laters

Sitting here with this sterile, bright airport light, I think of the light and love of the people I leave. Not forever, just for a bit. While I trust that this is what I need to do at this moment in my life. Two days ago, I received an exciting email from MEMPROW, the local women’s rights organization that I am working with in Kampala, detailing the activities that I will be a part of during the month of October. A campaign in the Northeast Region to advocate for sexual and reproductive rights for young girls in school. Meeting with traditional and religious leaders and community members to encourage them to support the education and sexual rights of girls. Followed by a leadership and social survival training for 30 high school girls to be peer educators. All words and jargon that have filled my mind for the past three and now I am blessed to see these projects with my own brown, muzungu eyes.

All because of an inspiring woman named Hilda Tadria. Funny how life throws you people that are needed at that moment. She gave a T-shirt to Musimbi, CEO of Global Fund for Women, to give to me, then invited me to Uganda during the AWID Women’s Conference in Turkey. I don’t know if she thought I would take her invitation seriously. But, here I am, after a confluence of events. Including moving out of the dear 64 Shotwell. My home and haven for the last three years in San Francisco. The place where I learned about what it means to have fun living with your friends even on a street called Shotwell. Among them, the originals: Asha, Leslie, Colin, and Lauren. From there an amazing group of people: Sarah, Rachel, Annie, Whitney, Maddy, Janet, Tania, Ashley, and Bjorn. A special shout-out goes to Lindsay, my roommate for over two years and a constant beckon of support for me. Looking at the map in the kitchen and showing us our routes of travel. Saying goodbye to these beautiful people and the most beloved city that is San Francisco was difficult, to say the least. The taquerias, homeless neighbors, Dolores Park, bike rides, late night dance parties, protests, interesting people. random walks, etc. it will be missed, but is not going anywhere.

Driving south from SF to SB for my last time, passing the familiar stops, including my favorite King City, while listening to dharma talks and NPR. Went so quickly. A couple days to clean up things in Santa Barbara and see friends and family before flying off. The outpour of love was overwhelming. Crying more than expected. Even as we drove in LA, seeing the beautiful sunset behind us and realizing the love of my family. The overwhelming love of my extended family, my sister and new brother, and parents. Despite the political disagreements, we were able to laugh and enjoy each other. The beauty of my parents having such a ball talking about all the old places they grew up with. Usually I would be annoyed, but this night, I saw the pure love and beauty of this moment. I am so blessed.

About to board the plane. Stewardess starting to move things, looking serious. People looking nervous, ready to move. Here I am, ready to document, ready to explore, ready to share the beauty that is Uganda and the people with you all in the US. Thanks for bringing your open heart and spirit with me.