“Be not deceived. If I have a veiled look,I turn the trouble of my countenanceMerely upon myself. Vexèd I am
Of late with passions of some difference,Conceptions only proper to myself,Which give some soil, perhaps, to my behaviors.”- William Shakespeare, Act I of Julius Caesar (and
one of the few books I brought)
Saturday June 19th, 2010
I sat down with Frank, stumbling over the immense pile of ears of corn and eventually reaching a sack to sit on. We each sat with a red bucket in front of us, sitting on top of a floor of the season's harvest. The warehouse was nearly full of the dried corn, and the job was simple. Grab each cob, and twist with both hands until the kernels loosened and fell off into the bucket. Simple but certainly not easy. In fact, the job was probably the hardest I had done yet on the farm. My hands soon began to tear, and by the time I begrudgingly put on the gloves I had, in the face of Frank's snickering, I had already torn the skin on a few fingers. The sweat, now stinging my open sores, made the experience even more painful and frustrating. As insects like flies, moths, and beetles crawled over my feet, I became seriously uncomfortable. Sweat poured from my legs, hands, and face, and I looked over at Frank who had already filled half his bucket. He knew I was in pain and told me to think about something else.
As I hauled my red bucket now filled to the brim with kernels and began to heal and wrap my wounds, I felt I had a better understanding of my identity and purpose. Each day is a new cob bringing unknown moments when kernels suddenly loosen and a soft, unique core is revealed.
There was also a bit of irony when this evening's mass, which I attend every Saturday at the farm, had a sermon (now repeated in English for me) discussing Jesus's question 'Who Am I?' I smiled, rubbed the fresh scabs on my fingers, and listened. The pastor didn't discuss the question's introspective potential for all of us reading the passage. Instead he focused on Jesus's journey, quoted a few other passages, and ended the sermon without the reflection I was craving.
Sitting now in the living room with the 3 year-olds Payas and Fina, watching Gorilla School on Animal Planet, and waiting for the Cameroon vs. Denmark game to begin, I can relax now, stop squeezing and twisting the kernels, and rest my tired hands.
Six weeks remain and my to-do list of 'kernel gathering' includes:
- Finishing budget and grant proposal
- Online fundraising campaign launch (to all of you!)
- Final Program Start Date, Stakeholder Contract Signing Ceremony
- Trip to Mbale Jewish Community and Mirembe Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative
- Meeting in Kampala with Makelele University about potential Fulbright Research
- Training St. Jude staff in workshops, preparing outlines, and 'handing over' program preparation duties
Next post will ask your help in launching the program – Weraba! Goodbye!
The entrance to the farm
The whole gang with my host mother on far right