GRACE AND LOUIS
This has been the hardest week in my 1 year in Uganda. Can you believe I’ve been here a whole year?
Most government jobs are up for relocation at any time. People talk about transfers all the time but I have never had them directly effect me until now. The Ministry of Education can, and does, move their teacher’s around at any given time. This week I found out that 9 of the teacher’s I live with are being transferred all over the country including my neighbor Betty and her sons Fred and Louis. They were told on Monday and expected to move by today, Wednesday. Sister Carol, the head teacher (like the principle of the school) convinced the ministry to not expect these teachers to be there until this weekend. She also negotiated with the ministry helping some teachers get closer placements to here. It is a devastating system. Husbands and wives are not transferred together. One woman teacher was transferred far away but she has a husband, children, and owns a house here. Sister Carol managed to get her transferred to the school directly across from our school. She was not as successful with a male teacher who is being transferred away from his family 4-5 hours.
All these transfers and constant movement does not seem effective. How are teachers suppose to feel invested in their work when they are always on edge knowing they could be moved at any time? And, how can the government encourage faithfulness when they are separating husbands and wives? Teachers do not make much money. There isn’t extra to travel around the country visiting your family. So these couples will be separated until next December when there is a long 2 month break.
While government job transfers are unexpected, religious job transfers have some planning to them. I think this is why I was so hurt this week. On Sunday night I received a call from Sister Pross asking where I was because they were about to start the goodbye party. Goodbye for who, I asked. Sister Jaja and Sister Kizito were being transferred. I hurried to the convent and joined in the goodbye party. I had no idea. I cried for most of the party. Sister Kizito kept leaving the room because she was crying too. My heart hurt so much, and still does. She’s one of the people here who I’ve been able to have in-depth conversations with and who has affirmed me so many times. I just love her and now she’s gone. And it was so sudden to me. I was hurt because I didn’t know and so upset because I probably won’t see her again. Lack of communication and miss communication is one of my biggest frustrations. This week has proved to make that challenge hurt me deeply.
The absence of these people in my life is leaving a void. I feel like I have to start over in many regards. I have to reach out and find new friends, coworkers, and playmates. My heart is broken. These are people I really care about and they are being taken from my life. It’s hard to make good friendships here and some of the best ones I have are being taken from me. I just don’t know if I have the heart to try with new people all over again.
Of course, I will, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt right now.
SISTER PROSS, ME, SISTER KIZITO