Two days from now the homies will drop me off at the local airport. From there I will start a small journey that will conclude in Northern Uganda perhaps two days later. I will roll up to a spot that I have thought about often, to friends and problems that have been with me since I first met them. But I have to get there first. I have some long layovers in countries to which I have never been. And I must once again revisit a tedious stretch of the Great North Road before I can put down my backpack for the month that I will be gone. The great gauntlet that is transcontinental travel used to be much longer and more difficult than trains and airplanes and well suspended cars make things. But I still feel a bit intimidated by the trek.
At the end of the road is Atiak, where Rachel, Olivia and the traditional birth attendants that are the focus of Earth Birth are hard at work. I will join them in their labor and record their styles. I will also think about the vagaries of colonialism and religion.
In a way, I mourn the mythical preconceptions I brought with me to Africa on my first trip. That sense of wonder was a small sustenance during my travels. But my perhaps typical yearning for the non-western authenticity of the Motherland died slowly when I was last on that scene. I fly now with other assumptions and ideals, certainly. But they are not as transparent or hopeful. Philosophically, it is a style that I prefer. It adds more darkness to the sky, but lets me better attend to the stars that will be burning around me.
Two days. Maybe I should pack.