In this fertile land

May 1, 2009

April 30, 2009

I didn’t think much of it till this evening.  I am seated in the thatched gazebo engrossed in Tess Holthe’s When the Elephants Dance.  I am momentarily distracted when I hear some soft footsteps.  I look around and see our neighbor Diana with her placid infant.  I greet them, “Kuli Kayo,” Welcome Back.

Diana stays at home with her 2-month old daughter, 2-year old son, and 6-yr old step-daughter.  Diana joins me in the gazebo, and we exchange pleasantries.  While she and I converse, the 2-yr old and 6-yr old play amicably in the yard.  The 2-yr old soon strolls to his mother and climbs onto the smooth concrete platform.  As his mother explains to me the complexities of child rearing, the toddler turns his head to the wall of the platform, places his mouth on the wall, and sucks on it.  I point to Peter and inform his mother about his activity.  She asks him to stop in Lusoga, but he doesn’t pay much attention.  He continues the sucking along half the circumference of the gazebo.  Diana steps out of the gazebo for a second, and I jump up to tear his mouth away from the E.coli-ridden surface.  As soon as I pull his face away from the wall, he smiles mischievously as he pushes my hand away and places his face back on the wall.  I give up rescuing him from the mean microbes.  His mother steps into the gazebo again and continues our conversation.  She tells me she wants 6 children.  She inquires me how many I want.   I want to tell her I want none, but I say, “one.” She’s surprised to hear my answer.  I secretly wish I could tell her that one cute child (like Peter) would keep me on my toes all day.   A human child would probably take at least 5 yrs off your life expectancy.  I tell her that I admire that she decided to have another while Peter’s so young.  It’s getting dark, so I leave the gazebo to prepare our staple meal of rice and beans.

I return to the gazebo to eat dinner with Fractal, but go back into the house to find solace from the wailing of some children in the orphanage right beside our little haven.  That’s when the thought hits me.  I’m in the most fertile country in Africa.  On average, the Ugandan woman has 7 children in her lifetime.  The next day, as I walk to town, I notice babies, children, and teenagers everywhere.  They stand out like the lush green landscape.

“The contents of this Web site are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.”

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2 Responses to “In this fertile land”

  1. alex said

    none?!

  2. myafricancorner said

    Maybe, Uganda’ll rub off on us & we’ll have a dozen.

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