In the summer of 2009 I was an overzealous single man touring the eastern United States, playing bass guitar in a rock band, and going days without eating anything substantial.
A few months later, I was deeply in love, studying theology, and gaining much-needed weight (as Ugandan meals incline a hungry scrawny white boy to do).
I met Suzan in the dining hall of Uganda Christian University. Then again at Nkoyoyo Hall. Then again somewhere on campus. Then again somewhere off campus. It kept happening, and I liked it.
One day I took Suzan to my interim mother’s (may she rest in peace) garden, which sat atop Monkey Hill, overlooking the powerful Lake Victoria and the rolling hills of central Uganda. I told her I liked her. She wasn’t resistant to that.
So after a semester of challenging questions, new friends, and a progressing romance, I returned to my own country. After being questioned by Dulles airport security for a few hours about my layover in Amsterdam, I walked into the cold December air with no place to stay. Fortunately, I had some generous friends with available beds and couches.
I got some jobs and started saving up for my next visit. When I obtained enough money, I ventured back to Suzan, but this time to her village. I stayed in Atura, Oyam this time, a fifteen-minute walk from the River Nile. It was a much different world than our university in Mukono (mostly in good ways). I started learning Lango, Suzan’s language. I met her family and neighbors. I witnessed the most partying I’d ever seen when Ghana scored a goal just before halftime in the World Cup match against Uruguay. Sometimes I brought firewood back from the forest. Sometimes I relaxed and did nothing.
Again my visa expired, and it was back to Pennsylvania for round two of finding jobs, working my butt off, and saving up for a plane ticket.
But the plane ticket wasn’t my only expense this time. I had a wedding to pay for. Three of them, actually. (They were all mine.)
So I became very poor after several months of long, hard labor. Festivities in Uganda are not simple. Nevertheless, I managed to wed with Suzan. Jumping through the hoops of bureaucracy to make this possible was (still is) not easy. More on this matter in a later post.
That is the skeleton of the story of how our marriage came to be. Of course….there is much more to tell….