Tag Archives: Amahoro Africa 2013

Cooking up something good


“Life-changing doesn’t always mean we’re given a step by step, detailed plan. Sometimes it’s the flash of an insight, a heart pounding idea, a sense of what’s to come.” – Leigh Kramer

Photo by Idelette

Our hands after a henna session in Burundi. Photo by Idelette

I want to share with you below a blog post written by a friend I met at Amahoro Africa in Uganda. I flew home from my trip to Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi on Thursday and my mind is still buzzing with the colours, the people, the conversations. I really resonate with a lot of what she’s saying. I’m also finding it hard to articulate stories of my time away, especially when you can tell that some people who ask ‘how was your trip?’ really only want a nugget and then to move on in conversation. And yet there are precious friends who listen for the longer stories, ask the deeper questions and in reward get the deeper answers, and in those conversations I feel heard and loved and I myself make realisations about what it all meant and what I have learnt and what I still need to process.

Like my friend Leigh, I also knew really strongly I needed to go on this trip and that it would be significant and yet even now I’m not fully sure how it will be significant. She describes a time on the trip when a few ladies sat together and described how they were feeling in a word and explained it. We did it often, almost every day and it really helped me to articulate and even realise for myself how I was feeling. Towards the end my word was ‘intrigued’. I’m really intrigued to see what God does with these connections. I’m intrigued to see what will come out of this trip. When I described it to my mother she said it’s like walking into a room and smelling delicious food cooking. I know God is cooking up something good for me, I can sense it, I can smell it. I don’t know exactly what’s going to be on the table yet but I know it’s going to be good.


You can read my friend Leigh’s post here




During our writing workshops this week at the Amahoro Africa Gathering in Kampala, we were given the task of writing prompted by the word ‘table’ and then choosing one word from that piece to write further. This is what I came up with.


As I come to this Amahoro table, a place of discussion and conversation, am I really welcome here? People smile and greet me warmly and yet at different times there are things spoken about colonialism with a negativity of damage caused, arrogance flaunted, of lines drawn in ignorance and presumption. There’s conversations of greed in the West and the lack of willingness to share. Do I represent all that to them?

I see all this, I can see it in history and yet here I sit in my own skin, feeling a little ashamed, wishing I was a little darker. Wishing my skin colour didn’t associate myself with so much injustice.

But is there something positive I can bring? Even something positive my colour can bring to this table?

I love this continent and feel more at home in South Africa than in the nation of my birth, a truth about me that a first glance wouldn’t tell you – people only get to know that when they get to know me well. Luckily this is a space where that can happen.


Colour. Bright colours: a rainbow striped umbrella used as a sun shade, a red tomato, green trees, blue skies, painted houses, patterned clothes. Where colour is an indication of life, of joy, of fun, of child-like exuberance.

And yet colour in South Africa seems almost a dirty word. Something that should be about beautiful diversity has become boundary lines of difference, of fear, of pride, of separation, of anger. Lines drawn and scratched in deep with injustice.

As I sit in my own skin, my own colour, I find myself sitting on one side of a deep line and wishing the lines were dissolved.

I wonder how it can happen. Maybe it starts with real relationship, real friendship, knowing individuals until you see the inside of them more than the outside.