In my ongoing week of wishing endlessly that I was out on the playa with my friends and family, a comforting thought struck me. One of my favorite aspects of the Burning Man ethos infused transformational festivals that I frequent back in the States is the constant ability to smile and greet those you pass by, knowing that they will smile back at you and send love and appreciation into your being in the most genuine way. A feeling seldom afforded in the USA.
On any given walk to and from the office, or lunch, or The Gate, or anywhere here in Kyabirwa, however, this is my everyday life. Smiles, greetings, warmth, love. You feel it in the energy emitting from everyone here. And it’s relentlessly inspiring.
It’s one thing to see the unfaltering positive energy emanating from festival goers, who likely have some sort of income that, if nothing else, at least fuels their festival habit, even if that income is just enough to make ends meet. It’s quite another to witness that energy bursting from maamas who struggle daily, toiling in gardens and fields, carrying out hours upon hours of backbreaking labor, all to afford to put food in the mouths of 6 kids (average number of children per mother in Uganda), let alone pay for fees and supplies to put each through school, typically with little or no help from their husbands, who split their time and resources between multiple wives.
And every day, they still greet me with a smile.
Resilience and inspiration are in no short supply here. For that I am truly grateful.