Our future is inextricably interred with our past.
Though we parry jabs and jests
Though we move mountains
Though we rise to the stars
The burden of building a nation
The chore of changing a culture
The task of untainting our traditions
Will always be on our shoulders
The Sermon on the Mount,
The Lighthouse beckoning the weary sailor,
The silent whisper in the ear of a blind man
That is what hope feels like.
We talk of the audacity of hope
We speak of its shimmering on the twilight of the horizon
We talk of its whispering to a dejected mother whose only son is a white boy who sings black music.
While his name rhymes with cheap children’s chocolate candy.
Hope is not for when you are rich
Or when you just found out that you’re pregnant
No. That is not the time for hope
Hope is not for when you’re told that your son is in hospital
Hope is not for when two hundred shillings stands between you and poverty
There is such a time as when hope is the cry of a nation.
There is such a time as when weeping engulfs the men of a land.
That is the time for hope.
When it is not just that you’re pregnant
But that you must sacrifice your life for it.
When it’s not just that your son is in hospital, but your only son is on an operating table and you stand next to your menopausal wife looking in. Praying. Hoping.
When 200 shillings stands between you and your name; and it just fell through the hole in your pocket and you’re in an out-of-the-way place; beyond salvage.
But these are stories we hear about and rarely believe.
We sense and see them but they are never real to us until they are real to us.
They are the stories from a far-off land, that we hear as friends tell and colleagues converse of where misfortunes abound.
And yet all these people stand amongst us.
Faces in the crowd.
Contributing to the face of the ubiquitous crowd.
Faceless is the crowd.
But these people.
They have faces.
They have stories.
They have lives.
After all if the child is born, shall he not grow and is there not great mirth in giving life?
And if the son dies, shall the wife and husband not find solace in having done their very best? (For very often, that is what we do not do. We blame, curse, regret instead of reveling)
And if you should be caught without 200 shillings, is not the gift of legs and the greenery around you so much richer to look at?
In finding hope, we find the elemental placed in us by a millennial-old God.
In believing hope we rise to faith and allow for the possibility of miracles.
In having hope, we court the divine possibility of immortality in humility
And in living hope, we become truly, fully, exceptionally, wholly human; for then:
*Inspired by McCain’s incessant reference to “Joe the Plumber” and Obama’s belief and awe-inspiring orations but, dedicated to all Ugandans who are big enough to see beyond themselves and are building this country. One blog at a time, one story at a time, one smile at a time,one cracked rib after another, one Pound at a time [I mean through remittances], one idea at a time, one night at a time.