Today we experience time at an accelerated pace, and geographical distance seems increasingly insignificant. It’s what David Harvey called time-space compression. Information is instantaneously available at our fingertips. Travelling has become faster than ever and more affordable than ever. The world is rushing past us. The news culture we live in shows us the most tragic sound bites of world events, it moves quickly from one catastrophe to the next. The wealth of information and our increasingly short attention span leaves us with a collective negative imagery of the developing world. Many of us are desensitized to the problems and their lasting legacies people continue to face after our fleeting interest has moved on. Poverty and conflict are plain for all to see, but what’s more difficult to spot are individual lives – their dignity, their hopes, their joys, their sorrows, their resilience, hope and strength.
In Uganda, on the other hand, time has a different meaning, and journeys within the country are long and strenuous. Its hills are lush; the roads are rutted and pitted. The further you move away from urban areas the longer the journey bridging only short distances. Many rural areas don’t have any electricity – or only occasionally. Night falls early. Evenings are long and spent in darkness. Families and friends gather around the mellow light of hearths to spend the evening in each other’s company. And the last chores of the day are done by the warm light of oil lamps.