In an ideal world, there are no greys in life. Everything is straight forward and there is no point in stopping to quizzically ponder the ramifications of every single chess move. The world is a deft player, mind but in the ideal world, there are no uncertainties.
Instead, we live at variance with the ideal; everything goes wrong and we are always advised to pack an extra pair of underwear.
But there are days when the stars are perfectly aligned. It’s not always beginner’s luck, mind. Arguments for the world conspiring to see you win the first time you cast a die are all good and noble but the truth is sometimes you will hit a run. And you never walk out on a good luck run.
Living away from home brings a certain clarity with it. Yeah, people have said for eons that you need to walk in the shoes of a ‘summer’ for just one month to understand why they act the way they act. You might even have close family that have lived that life but you just cannot comprehend until it is your turn to turn the wheel.
Being so many miles from home makes the heart grow fond…more than just moving from Kampala to Kigali or Nairobi. You get to follow everything about home like a hawk. You don’t want to blink.
You get to recognize a good luck run when it comes. You get to differentiate between certain wins and uncertain losses. You learn to count your money under the table.
This amiable gentleman I met today, for instance. He’s got an interesting story to tell; his father was born in Ethiopia and he then moved to Sicily then ended up in the USA. He was a citizen of the world and there was a fire that drove him.
Strangely, the Ethiopian’s son has a hunger he cannot explain for Sicily and Ethiopia. He never really lived there for any considerable amount of time, only visiting, but he wants to go there when he has the chance.
I have family in other parts of the world. I have always wondered what it feels like to have to make your home far away from home. Now I think I am beginning to understand.
The hunger for home just doesn’t quit.
But there’s a way to win. As others try to work the year round to go to some place without a soul, we can work towards going home at least every once in a while, just to smell the earth and run our fingers through the red dust. Just to hear the happy laugh at random roadside tables set up so the guys can while the hours away over nyama choma and Nile Special as the traffic jam subsides.
Even that terrible jam on Entebbe Road, made worse on days the Big Man is going to be traveling to or from State House.
Yes, even that hustle becomes desirable when the clarity hits. It all sounds like something out of a Bob Marley song.
That picture, held in the deepest recesses of our hearts, makes the toil worth it.