Even in our darkest moments, the kindness of a stranger can make all the difference. Or, at least that’s what I experienced yesterday.
After a pretty rough week and a half (Trump being elected president, Remembrance Day, and a few less than stellar personal situations that I do not care to get into here), I found myself sitting blankly in my room, head in hands, just focusing on breathing*. It was starting to get dark outside, and I could feel the cooler breeze slowly starting to enter my flat. Then, out of nowhere, my landlady appeared at my window.
I have been living in my current digs for nearly two months now. I live in what I may have already referred to as the in-law-suite of a Ugandan family’s home. It’s fairly quiet minus the roosters and the family’s smallest child crying periodically throughout the day. It’s safe, and I’ve come to really embrace all of its quirkiness (and well, of course the baby goats!). But, the family themselves speak very limited English, and I, of course, speak very limited Luganda and Losoga**. The result of this has been an interesting attempt at communicating with each other beyond the regular good morning, how is the day, thank you phrases. So, when the landlady appeared at my window I was quite surprised.
The thing is, she came to check on me. She had recognized I’d been a little out of character, and noting this, she came over with a fresh hunk of jackfruit that she had been sharing with her family, whilst I sat in my silent wall stare session! And the more I have thought about this simple gesture, the more I am amazed by how non-verbal communication can really tell a person something about another. I mean, the two of us (and her small child) struggle to talk sometimes, and the vast majority of the time we end up parting ways equally laughing and frustrated. Yet, she had obviously established what she thought of as my normal self, enough to recognize that I was acting a bit different.
Life never ceases to amaze me. And jackfruit has never tasted so good!
-the Orange Canadian
*I promise you there is no need to be alarmed – I’m really doing quite well!
**The two main local languages used in Jinja, although Luganda is arguably the most widely used throughout the country and should probably replace English as the national language…