Do you have some habits that are ‘okay’ when you are among friends but seem bizarre when you are exposed to a new environment?
I find it difficult to stifle laughter. Loud laughter is widely accepted in my circles. In fact, I have consolation from people with worse laughs than my own :p
One friend (Hi friend) is so ahead of the game, that before a date, the best advice we can share is try not to laugh. It has gone as far as “Princess laugh” lessons. One would argue she should be herself so that the Prince knows what he is signing up for.
During this workshop, I have caught myself bursting into laughter several times,when the room is quiet only to find the others laughing at my laughter and not the joke. I find this trait more pleasant than a grumpy attitude so I have decided to embrace it, unashamedly. “We want more laughs” is the chant the little people in my head have come up with.
However, yesterday I was shaken when I abruptly found a reason to
cry rather than attract stares for my outbursts.
For context, the training I am attending has participants from both Uganda and Burundi. Sessions are carried out in English and French.
I had engaged Ambrose* in a conversation about the situation back home over dinner once before. He gave me a summary based on his experience as a journalist talking about the media houses that have been shut down and the incessant censoring. We had moved swiftly to more appropriate dinner conversation.
This time, it was different.
Ambrose had been helping the facilitators to translate during certain sessions. This time after the trainer finished submitting a point, she turned to find a pensive Ambrose. He was lost in thought and did not move until he was called three times.
He was startled back to reality and explained the reason for his distraction.
“Every now and again, my mind drifts off to my people back home. There are several triggers from simple words or actions that constantly take me away from here. I do not know who is safe anymore and that makes me uncomfortable,” he said.
He went on to add, “I am happy to be spending this week in Uganda. At least I am sure that I will safely go to sleep and wake up to a peaceful environment the next day. I cannot say the same for my people.”
I do not know what got into my eyes at this point but it instantly became a waterfall.
We might be helpless in many ways, but depending on who/what you believe in, do spare time and pray for Burundi.
We have more than we can ever be grateful for in one lifetime.