BBC Script

This was my Pause For Thought on the Vanessa Show on BBC Radio 2 on June 28.6.19. The theme was "Leaving Home"...


We leave home on Monday 8th for what has become an annual trip to Uganda. We will fly over night… 24 hours from Belfast door to Kampala door, then after a good sleep we will take an 11 or 12 hour bus journey to Arua, on the north west edge of Uganda. 

It is not only a long way from home geographically, it is a long way culturally and economically. We will be in Arua for around 10 days with a team of 18 from our Church. We funded the building of a school and we will have an amazing time playing games and doing crafts as well as teaching sexual health and doing some painting among other things.

We will also take in a different culture where choice of food is not as varied, where leisure time is not in such abundance and where just getting by needs resilience and ingenuity.

And we learn about home. There is nothing like being in the middle of Africa to force you to critique your decadence, materialism and self obsession. For me there is always a thought that my wealth carries with it all kinds of bad traits.

One year, on a University team, in another part of Africa, I asked my students what they were least looking forward to, going home. One student said simply, The Relentlessness. Being in Africa where the pressure of fashion, looks, achievement and accumulation were absent she had found some sort of calm. She didn’t want to go back.

Jesus spoke a lot about the dangers and delusion of relentlessness and advised that we should worry about tomorrow but like the birds of the air and the flowers of the field should trust a simpler way of doing life. All the stuff of earth he suggested was flimsy and meaningless. Not worth the relentlessness of acquiring. 

I have never forgotten my student’s word. It lingers with me. It took us to leave home to look back and learn. I look forward to more lessons when I finally reach Arua on July 10th… 


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