Monday, August 15, 2011

getting the story

He is in Northern Uganda, a place not known for its kindnesses.

His travel-partner is in the village clinic. Maybe malaria, maybe typhoid. Let's wait & see. This unforseen predicament leaves him with one other to guide him, a Ugandan from the south. A friend.

He hikes dirt trails to remote villages; the people there, they do not talk much. War has crafted them into closed books; tightly-wrapped packets of hurt & fear. Their dark eyes snap shut when he reaches for them with his own.

He cannot ask them their stories, not yet.

He carries water along with them. From the muddy holes in the cracked earth, in plastic buckets, dented pails, rusted bowls to their mud huts.

He keeps his camera back in the hotel room out of respect, although soon he brings it forth because how else can he tell what he has seen?

The time is short & he knows too well that trust comes long; trust stretches out slow; it bends in the heat. It can distort his good intent, his will to tell their story.

On the roof of an abandoned building, boys leap in the dying streaks of day. They seem to reach for something just outside their grasp. Lunging & snatching, it eludes them. And now another day in Northern Uganda is done.

Are we closer to the goal?


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