We drove to Fort Portal, which is 250 miles west of Kampala, with Bishop Robert. On the way, we stopped at an upscale hotel and restaurant for lunch. After lunch, as we walked back to our SUV, we heard a man singing in the bar. The only words to the song wer, "I'm so lonely." He went on repeating that for five minutes.
I was reminded of something Father John Dunne, CSC, once wrote about an African love song which has only three words; "I walk alone." Dunne speaks of the problem of loneliness which has become acute in our time. We have emerged as individuals, but have lost a sense of relatedness with others. We spend all our time and energy making sure that what we do is our own choice, our decision. This is too often accomplished at the cost of spending time and energy relating to others.
In Uganda, one senses that peoples' sense of relatedness is still strong, but the loneliness is creeping in as Western culture and its emphasis on the lone individual is gaining strength there. One task of the Ugandan Church, to be sure, is to enable the lonely individual person to recover relatedness, while enriching the deep tribal relatedness which dominates Uganda, fostering more national relatedness.
This resonated strongly with some thoughts I just had last night after catching up with a friend. In our culture here, we are strongly encouraged to not commit ourselves to those around us. Though perhaps well-intentioned, it is inherently divisive.