I am a sentimental person who loves revisiting memories time and time again. Photos, trinkets, even a small rock found in a pocket placed there when the children were young, stir up many remembrances of what was.
Perhaps that’s why every spring I buy the same flowers at the nursery and every winter I try to keep these spring treasures alive in the company of my other house plants.
When I first saw these flowers it was in Uganda when I went there on a Destination Life Change trip in 2008. They were scattered everywhere. On the fields, by the roadways, dotting landscape with their bright pinks, oranges, and yellows, almost like miniature sunrises bursting from the green grasses. I was told they were common weeds, often uprooted and tossed aside to make way for more purposeful plants like beans, cassava and pineapple. I understood. Didn’t I do the same with the wild daisies and lamb’s quarters that grew in my garden back home in Canada?
So that is why when I saw these same flowers in a nursery at home I had to buy them.
But why the attachment to a common weed? Because it reminds me of all things Ugandan: The beautifulness of its people, so giving and filled with a happiness that is easily transmitted via smiles and strong embraces.
The durability and resistance of its families in their ability to stand up to their many adversaries: war, flood, drought, AIDS, and Kony.
And the colourfulness of Africa, from the brightly dressed women and children to the songs of greetings sang by the children that still play through my mind.
So yes, I am a sentimental person. But when I meet people who have such strong and fine qualities they make a lasting impression on me. And I want to always be able to hold onto, what is all things, Uganda.
My journey as an author, giving voice to child soldiers.