The last time I visited Uganda I spent a whole day in a dress. It was the day of my christening and my grandfather, Kaye (his English name was Henry), carried me around proudly. My mother used to pull out all this old 8mm footage of Kaye carrying me and smiling at the camera on that day. Cousins and uncles and aunties sit around in the grass behind someone’s home enjoying a sunny afternoon. That was the only time I ever met my grandfather. He stayed in Uganda. My mother had emigrated to the United States, to New York, before I was even born and after our visit we returned and that’s where I grew up. But my grandfather is a presence in my life even now. I keep a framed photo of him shaking hands with Malcolm X up on a wall in my apartment. The two met each other at the U.N. and someone snapped the picture. My mother held on to it for years and, when I grew up, she gave the image to me.
Now I’m going to see Uganda again, decades later, and, more importantly, as a grown man. My mother and uncle and cousins have stories about their Uganda, but part of the reason I’m excited for this journey is that now I get the chance to have my own experience. To see the country through my eyes.
As the summary of my trip suggests, I plan to spend time talking with the faithful. But I will be going to the pork joints and the night clubs, too. I believe a man can love the Lord and still enjoy a cold bottle of Heineken.