falling forward

Walking is falling forward.

Each step we take is an arrested plunge, a collapse averted, a disaster braked. In this way, to walk becomes an act of faith. We perform it daily: a two-beat miracle – an iambic teetering, a holding on and letting go.


I am on a journey. I am in pursuit of an idea, a story, a chimera, perhaps a folly. I am chasing ghosts.

Paul Salopek

Too often I find myself apologizing for a dip in my blogging frequency. For the past six weeks, I’ve been at home taking a breather… relaxing, talking to friends over coffee, watching basketball with my dad, running errands with my mom. All very normal things, yet they felt deeply meaningful to me after nearly 9 months on far-off continents. My time at home helped me recharge, unwind, and prepare myself both mentally and emotionally for my next adventures.

So here I am back in Gulu. Falling forward.

There are a lot of things that I’m not sure of right now: how long I’ll be here. what exactly I’ll be doing. how my salary is going to work. what I’ll be doing after my time in Gulu is up.

What I do now is that I’m here now, so the only thing to do is to keep on keeping on. As Paul Salopek says so eloquently, to fall forward. Like Mr. Salopek, I too feel as if I’m performing a daily iambic teetering in pursuit of an idea, a story, perhaps a folly. I’m on the search for a better, more equal, more peaceful world. Some days I’m immensely hopeful, and other days things happen that make me want to retreat into myself and grieve for love forgone.

On my first day back in Gulu, I was playing basketball with some friends when I badly sprained my ankle. My first night. It was definitely not what I would have planned for myself if given the choice, but as I sat panting from the pain in my living room immediately following the unfortunate incident, I had two thoughts. Number One: this sucks. Number Two: well, I’ve never been injured in a foreign country before…this should be interested. Turns out I was right, it has sucked, and it has definitely been interesting. For a while I felt helpless and incapable and very stressed out, but once I was able to drag myself out of my pit of self-pity, I managed to see it as an opportunity. My time in Uganda has been one lesson after another in just keepin’ on. This was my biggest test yet, and while I’m not yet completely healed, I do feel that I’m out of the woods. The key is just to keep falling forward.

With my return to Uganda will hopefully come my return to regular blogging, and I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me. As I write this, nearly ten people have packed themselves into our small kitchen to cook dinner, chat about our days, and discuss what awaits us in the week to come. With their warm presence I am reminded that so much of what we face in life is made easier and more enjoyable with company. So I hope you’ll all continue to keep me company as well. Stay with me as we continue this daily act of faith…marching, slogging, running, creeping…some days slow, some days fast…susceptible to fatigue but never despair. Always in pursuit of those ghosts hovering just on the edge of possible. I believe someday we’ll catch them together.

Whatever the next few months hold, bring it on.



4 thoughts on “falling forward

  1. Oh Emi, what a return. Hope your ankle is much better now. Sprains are so painful. Keep shooting for your dreams and we’ll keep praying for you. Be safe and be happy.
    Love and Blessings,
    Patty and Ron

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