“An Invitation to Stay Long” (Nathaniel’s reflection on visiting the homes of his friends in Uganda)
Perhaps what is most intriguing to me about Ugandan homes is not found in a study of the exteriors, or a look around inside, but rather the perspective from their internal view to the outside. I like to unlatch the window shutters – raising the hut’s eyelids – perceiving the world from within the living organ that is the home’s existence.
The great-matooke-view is made even more special by the scene’s soundtrack. The wind gives crackly voice to the leaves, while the steps of animals and people pad a similarly crisp-tune on the carpet of dry and fallen foliage underfoot.
All the while, one is offered the loveliest of hospitality. A visit to a Ugandan space quickly convinces the guest that kindness and manners are not merely taught here – but that they are heart-motivated. Instinctual.
The vitality of this land does not only come from its plantations, channels and vast lakes.
But it springs forth from a noble humanity that is viscerally kind spirited – where gentility actually feels genuine. Where emotional vulnerability is not feared, but broadcast. Where poverty is not often seen in the soul.
And where a stranger is always welcomed with a nearly whisper-quiet exchange of respectful greetings, and an invitation to stay long.