More than just a job

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Sat, 03 Jul 2010 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

This week saw the departure of Dr Raul with his wife Christiane and their sons Lars and Joshi. We have had various parties over the last few weeks by different departments where they have been working in the hospital. Through my working career I have attended various functions for colleagues (or myself) leaving a place of work to move on. At the hospital function on Sunday evening, after a weekend on call without sleep, I was wondering why this departure felt different. Then I noticed – Kiwoko is not just a job. Raul is not just a colleague. We are a community who live together and share together as well as simply work together.

Indeed I have had some fantastic work colleagues in the past (many of whom I am still in touch with – indeed may well be reading this) whose company I have enjoyed and am sad not to see as much as I used to. However sharing a community life with 300 others is fundamentally different from commuting from our homes to work and then back again. In fact, this community life that is Kiwoko, may in fact be part of the secret for what is so special here. Not that it is always wonderful to share one’s life and family with so many others. Sometimes I am exasperated to have to chase the children of other staff from stealing my pineapples, or be unable to relax having a quiet drive to Kampala without having half a dozen passengers catching a lift. Psalm 133 talks about how good it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony. Sadly the converse is more often noted, but the truth of this verse rings in my ears afresh.

I am saddened by the departure of Raul and family because they are much more than work colleagues, much more than neighbours, in a sense they have become a bit like a brother, a sister and sons to me. In Africa such a broad view of family is normal, but in the ‘developed’ world it is all a bit alien with how we structure our lives and society nowadays. Community life often gets associated with the excesses of places such as Wako Texas etc. Such associations should be paid attention – but not stop us from seeing the value and power of living together and sharing together. Many cannot live on a compound in rural Africa, but the principles of living beyond the walls/fences/hedges of our garden and lives is worth us all exploring further.

Honestly though – it can be painful. Unless you and those you share with are perfect, you will get hurt as you let each other down in different ways. Also, as I noted this week, people must come and go. This world and our lives are temporal and transitory. Goodbyes are painful, and are with us as long as we inhabit these mortal bodies. However, I find a quote attributed to Bishop Richard Cumberland most insightful as we navigate the potentials of live, ‘it is better to wear out than rust out.’

Thanks to Raul, Christiane, Lars and Joshi. We have enjoyed your skills and company over the last 4½ years and wish you much fun, blessing and success on your return to Germany.



Raul said Wed, 15 Sep 2010 07:38AM
Kale, ate si'nnyo. You never mentioned, that you wrote such a personal blog about me :-)... good enough I came to read it. And as I mentioned... it was a very, very great time with you too... and so God will it might not be the last. Blessings to you all. (We miss you guys) Raul

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