Since Junior Year of High-school, my head rested in one location for never more than one year. Ngora is thus my longest duration of a home since I’ve gotten my full driver’s license. That makes me feel old, saying that. Anyway, it’s a bit of a technicality, but still interesting to see the place some might call me “settling down” was in the heart of NorthEastern Uganda in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ngora, you were and are a huge source of pride for me. I have and will continue to defend any offenses against our people because, well, they’re our people after all. You have frustrated me, to be sure—there are days when I cursed the very thought of you – but in the end you knew you’d found a new son. When I find my place in this world, it will be in no small part to the things you taught me.
Fr. Ecogu—Scores upon scores of hat racks couldn’t hold all of the positions and responsibilities that you’ve taken in Ngora. Your demeanor is so inspiring in that you actively throw yourself into any and every project you feel has merit; a relaxed day IS a bad day for you, because you understand how important you are and furthermore see it as a responsibility. You have managed to make speeches that I’ve fumbled through in English sound eloquent in Ateso, somehow saying less but also more. You are thoughtful and passionate, wise yet ever questioning. You have sent me to google from conversations more than any other person I’ve met. Your willingness to take time and encourage me at the right times has meant so much to me, and had such an impact on my ability to lead within Ngora. You break the mold, Father.
Jackie—Only you could manage to make a 23 year old American MORE dependent on people by coming to Uganda. Any time I’d do work outside, you’d scold me; everytime I didn’t eat 2x my fill, you’d purse your lips. You were a great and wonderful teacher; you’d never get tired of teaching me Ateso. You’re also a leader, Jackie, even if you don’t see it yourself; realize it and allow yourself to lead the women so willing to follow you towards the things you wish to see in our community.