From 2 to 9 October 2010, one of the brothers living in Kenya made a visit to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The initial aim of the visit was to thank the young people of Uganda and their leaders for their remarkable participation in the pilgrimage of trust meeting in Nairobi in November 2008. Nearly 500 young people, from all the provinces of the country, made the journey in what was truly a nation-wide delegation. Two years later, it was possible to better appreciate the fruits of that experience. People were grateful at the perspective of continuing to support one another in a search for communion.
In Kampala, youth meetings were held at the Kisubi Brothers College, at the St Augustine Chaplaincy of the University of Makerere, the oldest university in East Africa, and at the Youth Alive Centre in the working-class suburb of Kamwokya.
At Makerere University
The question, “Where do I see the need for greater communion?” was at the heart of the times of sharing. Some examples from among the replies, “It is important to re-establish trust between men and women. I can sense contempt among many women who consider men as superficial and unreliable. Among many men, the idea persists that to be a man you need to have several women”. “As I tried to find my way among all the challenges in getting my publicity agency started, I discovered that there exists a solidarity between the owner-managers”. “It is important to increase trust between young people and adults. Many adults still use young people as workers to do the chores”. “The violence that marked the primary elections we have just had is a sign of social disintegration. How can we create peace and live together as brothers and sisters?” A suggestion that seems to create unanimity is to prepare in Kampala a retreat/meeting like those which take place regularly in Nairobi in the place where several Taizé brothers have been living for the past year.
These few days in Kampala also provided an opportunity to visit various Church leaders, in particular those in youth ministry: Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox.
The daily news is full of the manoeuvres leading up to the next general election, set for February 2011. But Sudan, the big neighbour to the North, with its referendum on self-determination fixed for the beginning of January 2011, is also in many people’s minds. In spite of the speeding up of the reconstruction of the region over these last years, the situation remains fragile. The uncertainties are numerous.
Jinja, Soroti and Tororo in the East of the country were the other stages of the journey. In Soroti, the floods that followed months of drought made communications difficult. However fifteen young people representing various parishes were there as planned. They explained how their meeting – during the pilgrimage of trust in Nairobi in 2008 – with young people from the neighbouring region, traditionally their enemy, made them realise that it is possible to come together, to live together and to imagine a different future in their region that has known violence and plundering for more that twenty years. When they returned home, they followed up their contacts, visited one another and took part together in training for peace programmes. “Now, if a tension crops up, we know that we can sit down and speak to one another!” explains Caroli Aroma, the diocesan coordinator. She adds, “Our dream is to invite someday young people from throughout the country to our place, at Soroti!”