This is the moment where the arduous effort to be here pays off. Right now. Coming down from the inexplicable high of rafting the Nile River, I realize the adventure is over and reality begins to chip my anxious excitement into a more settled wonderment. Peering out of the bus into a paralleled taxi I lock eyes with a little girl, no older than two. She stares at me through the cracked window. I wave to her and smile at her mother. I keep waving in an attempt to receive a reciprocated signal of acknowledgement. She waves so I smile and wave again. Back and forth we silently communicate and her mother pushes the window slightly more open. She sticks her face through the crevice, I move to a newly open seat in an attempt to be nearer. I blow her a kiss and she looks at her mom, returning her gaze to see an elated 20 year-old gushing over her. I blow another kiss and wave. She places her flat palm against her lips and waves with the opposite hand. I make surprised faces with her, smile and blow more kisses. A lurch signals that my time is running thin. In an effort to maintain this intimacy between us I blow her another kiss to which she finally blows one back to me. The engine revs and I must return to my place leaving her with a smile and farewell wave. Overcome with joy, I sit back in my seat and cannot help but wonder at life’s intricacies. Morning ensues, weaver birds sing in the distance while roosters welcome the day. The air is fresh from the rain of yesterday and as I lean my head back against the wall from my railing perch I cannot help but giggle and roll my eyes at this life. These are the moments I live for, that remind me why I worked so hard to be here, and facilitate my efforts to explore. I never thought a single experience, let alone one shared with a precious child, could capture the essence of what I experienced all month walking alongside the people of Uganda.
Content by Alexandrea Rager
Photograph by Andrew Johnson