A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning - changing

I have a hard time with change. I hate it! I have even been known to become immobile when it comes to change. I shut down and become incapable of functioning. I dissolve into tears and feel utterly overwhelmed. Realizing this about myself and also knowing change is coming and I have to face it, I decided to slowly start the processes of packing up and cleaning out my house. If I do it a little at a time maybe it won’t overwhelm me so much.

I decided to start with my closet. I have no idea how I accumulated so many clothes! I’m supposed to be living simply in deepest darkest Africa, right? Somehow I lost sight of the “simple” factor in regards to clothing. Each piece of clothing brought back some memory from the last few years. What should have taken me half an hour to sort through took me 2 hours of reminiscing and fighting with myself. I separated the ones I know I’ll never wear again, the ones I could potentially never wear again and the ones I can’t live without, at least for the next few months. Then I bundled them up in a cloth bag and walked down the road to the health center where my good friends Susan, Christine, Maureen, and Norah work.

What ensued were moments of pure excitement, thankfulness and friendship. Christine and Susan were the only ones working at the time and they laid out all the clothes on a hospital bed making piles of skirts, shirts, dresses, jeans and bras. Once they had it arranged they then went pile by pile, flipping through as if they were in Owino (the big market in Kampala). They would scream in delight over different articles and hold it up against each other. There were many comments of, “This one will be good for Norah because of her big breasts,” and “My cabina (butt) looks good in tight jeans,” and “You take this one for that girl of yours because she’ll look smart.” They were even excited over my over hand-washed, disfigured bras.

There were many pauses while flipping through where sentences started like this: “Oh, Amanda, I remember when you wore this…” and “Amanda, your cabina always swings so much when you wear this. I remember it best.” It is interesting how clothes have some effect in how we are remembered. It was really fun to share my clothes with these friends. I don’t like giving things away, especially in Africa where I think a culture of entitlement has come about from all the money pumped in. But seeing how sharing my clothes with my friends was allowing them to keep pieces of me, it made me feel good. This first change hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I can handle change after all!

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