Uganda has not been kind to my personal possessions. I don’t want to go into details, but let’s just say I am now on my FOURTH camera for the year and do not currently possess a wallet (or driver’s license, or credit card…. etc).
Having my stuff stolen sucks. Not only is it expensive and a pain to deal with, but it’s so easy to feel bitter, stupid, hostile, violated, and lonely after my things are taken.
Luckily I just read The Alchemist—a story about travel and adventure and the kinds of discoveries found when out of one’s element. I liked many of the insights about the unexpected epiphanies and joys of travel. There’s a part near the beginning where the protagonist, a shepherd, has just sold his flock and left all that is familiar to him to follow omens and search for a treasure. Alone and in an unfamiliar place, he gets swindled and robbed and loses his life savings:
He looked around at the empty plaza again, feeling less desperate than before. This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.
After all, what he had always wanted was just that: to know new places. Even if he never got to the Pyramids, he had already traveled farther than any shepherd he knew. Oh, if they only knew how different things are just two hours by ship from where they are, he thought. Although his new world at the moment was just an empty marketplace, he had already seen it when it was teeming with life, and he would never forget it. He remembered the sword. It hurt him a bit to think about it, but he had never seen one like it before. As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.
“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure,” he said to himself.
Isn’t that awesome? I love it. Thanks for the perspective, Paolo Coelho. Here some recently-discovered treasures:
Colorful small-town Uganda, somewhere on the road from Mbarara to Masaka.
Funky-amazing traditional Ugandan headdresses, from Tribal Crafts of Uganda.
Sunset after Sunday beach ultimate:
Fried food cooking extravaganza! We made chingazi (lemon-zest flavored fried sweet dough), veggie samosas, and banana pancakes:
Bright blue lizard!
Treasures aplenty, right?