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Uganda is...

A poem that I wrote while I was in Uganda this summer working with the Palliative Care Association of Uganda under a Kellogg Institute for International Studies internship. (Read more about opportunities that the Kellogg Institute offers at http://kellogg.nd.edu/students/index2.shtml). Here, I reflect on the role of foreigners in development.

Uganda is yellow, as the worn jerry cans that villagers carry, sometimes for miles, to and from the stream to fill with water.
Uganda is green, as the lush foliage that sustains lives and provides a child’s playground.
Uganda is pink, as the soft bellies of monkeys that swing through the trees and sing you to sleep.
Uganda is blue, as the broad and commanding Nile running through the country.
Uganda is brown, as the sweet ginger tea heated in the morning over a bed of coals.
Uganda is purple, as the longstanding wood of a dilapidated church.
Uganda is orange, as the relentless sun beating down on the people below.
Uganda is gray, as the putrid exhaust pluming from Kampala.
Uganda is red, as the dusty clay that covers the roads and masks the cars, bodas and bikes going by.
Uganda is black, as the different faces of people who call this place home.
Yes, Uganda is as multicolored as the pattern of a woman’s goma or the marketplace near Kawempe.
However, Uganda is not white. Uganda is white only as an unexpected snow: gently falling to the ground, resting for a moment and then quickly melting away.

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