I’m finishing up my last term at university. Some exams are done, others before me. Lots to do, but managing. Somehow, though I don’t know how.
I’m going to be real with you: I’ve been physically tired and sick with a sore throat and ears for almost a year. So far, doctors couldn’t find the reason. The physical pain was and is tough. But “not knowing” was worse. I didn’t know what the issue was, what could help, how I could work full-time with this illness, and if there would ever be a cure. “Not knowing” can be worse than knowing something tough. And I lived with that uncertainty for a year now. That is, until today: I went to a health practitioner. She says I have some food intolerances, and also some blood parasites. They aren’t dangerous but they do take a lot of energy away. I will have to stop eating citrus, olive oil, and fresh tomatoes. And I will do a special detox sometime next month. As she put it “do NOT do the detox during your exams. Expect side effects.” It’s not going to be fun, but it’s a way forward. To me, the lack of answers can be more scary than an uncomfortable answer that may lead somewhere. I don’t know if you can relate. But if you feel uncertain, I understand that that can be daunting. Even if it looks “not sooo bad”.
Despite these challenges, I am staying creative wherever possible. Perhaps you could say those challenges are the backdrop of my creative projects. For example, a few weeks ago I made a cutting board out of recycled plastic bags. It was easy: melt the plastic in a metal mold in the oven and put it under clamping pressure as it cools. The mold was a lid from a cookie bucket, the plastic was from bags, the “clamps” were glass plates and heavy rocks. The mold didn’t survive, and the cutting board is very rough. But I sealed the edges with a lighter, and it still looks cool!
I also recorded a little “podcast” with my friend Sylvia Nantongo. She runs an NGO in Uganda (“Suubi Teen MOPS”, or “Suubi”), they train teen moms from the slums with vocational skills (sewing, soap making). In the video we talk about what happened this week (post-election normal, sewing dolls, schools possibly reopen, needing to find a market for the products) and the prayer requests (the leadership is of Christian faith). They are the ones who sent me the jacket out of recycled plastic, which I made into my backpack. They face many challenges, yet they keep going. I really admire that, and it motivates me to keep going, too.
Focus on yourself can be needed at times. But if you focus on yourself for too long, you get anxious, bitter, or perhaps arrogant. Either way, self-absorbed. But use your energy and creativity in connection to others outside yourself, and the world gets bigger. I still have my limitations, but I am no longer the only part of the picture. I don’t know what may look like for you. But for me, being creative is cool, and using that creativity in connection to supporting women in Uganda is even better. So, along the lines of supporting their work, I decided to make a little video about Suubi. It’s not done yet, but in the making (Below are pictures of how I made a Suubi logo with linoleum cut print). It’s fun to figure out the props, camera, and other things that go into it. I hope to submit it to a charity event called “Project for Awesome”, which is hosted by the Vlogbrothers (YouTube Channel hosts with millions of views, focus on fun learning and building community). Their event is from Feb 12-14. The video needs to be ready by Feb 10th. So, I guess, stay tuned, and have a great day!