The vacation of the Ugandan community

Uganda: “My perfect imperfections”

Spending the afternoon in the hotel working or taking the community vacation proposal seriously, starting with a few hours of games together? This was Mauro's choice and the story of what he discovered.

I have just come back from an amazing weekend spent with my friends from the community in Entebbe for our holidays. I must say that the holidays didn’t begin very well. I was a bit uneasy with the idea of spending all of Saturday afternoon playing games. I would have preferred to stay at the hotel and deal with some pending work emails, but I had to make a leap of faith and trust the proposal. We played for two or three hours, all together, with the passion of enthusiastic adolescents, and it was surprisingly enjoyable. The games were prepared so well that it seemed as though they were for each of us and for me. The elderly, the woman with a baby, the 10-year-old child, the priest, and the injured doctor… all of us could be part of it and none felt left out or out of place or bored! The unity corresponded to me and my complaints were disarmed. It seemed that the Mass that followed under the shade of a beautiful tree in the Botanical Gardens of Entebbe was for me. I felt that the small caterpillar that fell on me during the Mass, with its bright green color, echoed the miracle of the nature that surrounded us, and my vacation began in that moment.

I rediscovered the truth of what I have been reading in recent months. God became flesh, the flesh of my friends who prepared this gift for me and the flesh of my flesh, even as unworthy as I am now. The words of Rose’s introduction from that morning, “He was not ashamed of our poor nature; He knew our limitations and yet He wanted to melt with us,” started to make sense to me, as did what happened at the supper and the songs that followed. The song by Pink Floyd that cries, “How I wish you were here,” became meaningful for me; it was as if the whole of humanity had become mine. I started remembering all the friends we have lost over the years and those who simply left, but whose faces are in my heart. When I heard Mina’s song, “Mi sei scoppiato dentro al cuore,” it was as if my first encounter with Christ had been brought back to me, with its unmistakable fullness: “You arrived, you looked at me, and from that moment everything has changed for me […] I feel I’m alive for you.”

On Sunday our friend Stefano gave a witness. I have known him for quite a number of years, and I understood what he meant when he said that he was surprised that, when looking at the hill of Kireka on his way to work, he felt that it was a gift. Kireka is a slum and doesn’t exactly provide the most attractive view of Kampala, and yet he felt that it was beautiful because it is the place where our friends, who have now become his friends and companions, live, bestowing the caress of the mystery onto his life as he makes his way to the sometimes arid challenges of work. I was struck by his words, “I started loving my perfect imperfections,” quoting the song “All of Me” by John Legend. My imperfections can be attractive too: if He prefers them, shouldn’t I? 

Mauro, Kampala, Uganda