After first noticing his drawings of other students and people done using MS paint, I was quick to praise the artist, an S3 student here at Kyenjojo SS. Unlike most of the students here - who do the same thing day in and day out, typing the same words over and over again exactly as they were first given to them by a teacher - he is using the computer as a creative outlet.
He found MS Word, he found the "Spray Paint" can and he hasn't looked back.
One day he came to me and says, "Masta', you come look."
And there it was: my first portrait.
It immediately drew a crowd.
Kids giggled and laughed all around, because there I was: a beard, my long straggly hair up in a pony-tail, my cargo pants and SSC shirt... even my long-worn bracelet (though he got the hand wrong).
[And what do I do when using the computer? I check Gmail, of course!]
I saved it to a USB like I have a few of his other drawings.
This morning he showed me yet another picture of me - this one done in a sketch book for is Fine Art class - only this time I was walking across the school yard with my backpack and water-bottle in hand. The picture was accurate right down to my Chacos.
While I am flattered by the sentiment, I must admit, it is just a bit unnerving (ahem, creepy) to realize that when I think I am sitting alone at a computer or walking across campus, I never escape the watchful, curious eyes of my community. And now, one of them might just be recording it with sweeping strokes of a pencil or mouse.
After 17 months in Uganda, there is still a small piece of me, deep inside, that screams when it knows that it is being watched. But every day, the scream diminishes.
Thanks for reading!
I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)