It's been 12 months since I posted. First of all, LOL I'm sorry. Since the Rome trip... I moved to Uganda. Again....
Everything between then and now seems like a blur. Some kind of non idyllic, raw, anxiety inducing blur. It's been one year?? You'd think the first time round would make transition easy, well yes, but it doesn't reduce any of the 'highest highs and lowest lows' that inevitably all happen in Gulu as a friend of mine so perfectly put it. I can't describe the past year in one go, there has been really hard moments, some really happy moments, and all that's in between...
31 Bits has been going through changes. If Africans (categorically) can categorically hate anything, it's change. They are slow to change and prefer not to have it at all to be honest. We are having to restructure little to big things which naturally, businesses have to go through at some point, but it has challenged what developing real growth and what making hard decisions really look like for us. It has spanned the spectrum of sad to beneficial, so much prayer and helpless unknowns throughout this year. Right now, we are busy (understatement) fulfilling huge huge orders. My life looks like: coffee in hand, running around like a headless chicken and periodically lying down. The weekends blow by, usually someone's last weekend every weekend in this transient community but that's a whole other thing for another time.
We had our graduation at 31 Bits in May. The celebration was a day to remember. I haven't seen so much joy and happiness in a place. It was a good reminder to us all through these transitions, that our mission still stands, and something is still working. We had 53 ladies equipped, empowered to carry forward their own businesses and a life bigger and beyond 31 Bits.
Learning to be alone has been hard. Learning to be real and myself has been hard. Writing to you has been hard. (Sorry for that) Taking it day by day has been easy. I read back on my old posts and I am so much braver, I have so much ambition and though some things weren't clear, my attitude was clear, I always looked up, I knew very well the promise of looking ahead. If I'm being honest with you, I feel a little bit lost. I've taken so many leaps and turns early in my 20s and now that I seem to have found something I can finally stop and settle in, I've never felt more lost. I search endlessly for reason and purpose and I don't know how to obtain a heart at peace. As my friend says, 'the answer Sami, is that I don't have an answer, I don't know'. He often says that and it kind of settles our long debates. So maybe I'm missing a piece in the puzzle, or maybe that's just it, I don't have to know.
Sometimes I have these almost euphoric moments, I step outside and it's strange but wonderful, a hot, confusing, sunny eternal disorder, and I see the ladies, loud, making jokes with each other, kids running around so happy, and the staff being mildly on time for work. I know deep in my soul, that feeling lost and lonely in it is not a thing. I am surrounded by life, and opportunities to build relationships and to do my own best everyday. My instagram isn't the full picture, but my life is as simple as it looks.
To reflect on the last 12 months, I honestly couldn't tell you what the hell it is I've been doing. Production is my department at 31 Bits, the company I work for, and the reason why I moved to Gulu 12 months ago. It has its fair share of daily challenges. Practically when in Northern Uganda, nature and resources often work against you, people second to that also work against you, but that's all part of the thrill, and now that I think about it, I love it. To make jewelry and organising all that that entails is really not rocket science, it's rather the cross cultural friction, the character testing dilemmas and the 'what do I actually know about anything about anything' to make decisions that has kept me on my toes. I am so thankful for the people I had and do cross paths with that make me feel like I am not alone in this. I love Gulu, and I love my work, I truly do and I have always said that but I guess this post is to say that it hasn't been without struggles. A good friend of mine (who left, they all leave) once told me that 'hard' is not relative. So often I think of the complications and domestics that the ladies at Bits go through, unfathomable. And then I think that my problems shouldn't even BE problems. But it's not relative like that, maybe a little petty of me, but if something is hard, like how I'm perpetually still an alien to a place I now call more home than anywhere else, it's just objectively hard, regardless of comparisons. Now learning to embrace that.
On the agenda for this next year, post often and honestly, my family is coming, my bestfriend is coming, the whirlwind of daily haps continues. As I have said since that dramatic post in 2015 about moving to Gulu to work for Krochet Kids, I can't say it enough times, thank you for your continued support to my work and to me, from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate each of you. Your prayers keep me and I am so thankful.