Kissa Joel and Lugamba Vincent are students of Luigi Giussani High School. Both of them have already sat their final examinations for High school and will start the University next year. In September 2018, they along with some university students and others from Luigi Giussani High School had a holiday titled “By these facts you will know that I am the Lord” with Rose Busingye, a Spanish priest (Fr. Ignacio Carbajosa) and five students from Universities in Madrid, Spain. I meet with them to listen to what they had to share after this encounter- by Okello Marvin 11.12.18
The holiday was 3 days, situated in a town called Hoima which is next to Uganda’s second largest lake, Lake Albert, the place has steep hills and a beautiful shore. During the holiday, the group went for a hike on the hills besides the Lake, sang songs together by the lake shore, played games together, shared experiences and watched a movie titled “Les Miserables”.
Can you describe what struck you most about this holiday?
Joel in red and Vincent in white
Joel: For me, starting from the theme of the holiday, “By these facts you will know that I am the Lord” was enough to show me that I was going for something good for my life. I feel happy that I am going to complete the high school, but I was feeling sad and my heart was unsettled. I don’t want to leave high school, this is the place where everything is given and this is the sign that I am not alone. Going for the holiday, I was looking for an event that could help me face this restlessness.
Did any special thing happen?
I cannot say any special thing that happened because the whole holiday was special, in the bus we were in two teams and my team was beaten while I was sleeping. It didn’t matter much that we lost because it was overcome by the way we way staying together and this was very beautiful. Everything was just simple in spite of the fact that some people were older than me and others younger, everyone was living with the simplicity of the heart. You don’t have to hide in front of them because you know that these are people who love you and who are on the same journey with you of self-discovery. That alone for me was very beautiful. I was interacting with everyone with a different gaze and full of the newness because of the way I’ve been looked at.
Vincent: Looking at the experiences of Hoima. Fr. Nacho said that the hypothesis of life is to always face life with curiosity. And I began to ask myself where the facts where, where Christ was showing that He is the Lord. The most concrete fact that I had in front of this was this Presence. Was what was happening before me, were my friends. For me I thought that it was awkward to say that I can meet Christ through a face of someone. But then it became more concrete because I was becoming more aware of myself the more I lived with these people. Some people where describing their experiences and they were the same as mine, so this kind of similarity helped me to discover about myself more and more.
There’s a time when I said that I wanted to meet Christ face to face to ask Him some questions, but I met him in a different way through this companionship, in staying together, the way we played, when we went to the shore of the lake, the way we were holding each other’s hands while climbing the steep hill, all of that was so beautiful for me and I found that, this was my appointment with Christ. To meet Him in a different way.
I don’t normally talk about my dad. When I compare Gladys’ experience with her dad and mine it’s almost the same, the same thing happened. I was living without caring about him but then one evening when we watched the movie “Les Miserables”, I went to sleep at night, thinking about Jean Jaljean and the Bishop, made me realize that the same way Christ is looking at me is the same way He is looking at my dad. If Christ loves me, it means that he also loves my Dad no matter what he is doing. I don’t live with my dad. I realize that even my dad is Important and he is there for a reason. I also relate this to what Fr. Carron said when he spoke of the preference for me. Right now my perception of my dad has changed. Whenever I think of him, I don’t define him by what he has done or by his mistakes. I look at him as a sign of Christ’s preference for me. Because for me to be here was through my dad, so for me it is a concrete sign, so I am looking at him with what Fr. Giussani calls “an irreducible newness.”
So after watching “Les Miserables”, I was ashamed of myself. How can I live this kind of beauty and then hate my dad? So what struck me most was that I began to miss my dad as well. So for me this was a very beautiful experience that I will never forget.
So after this holiday, what do you guys desire for? What remains in your hearts after this encounter you had in Hoima?
Joel: When I went back to my room after watching “Les Miserables”, I began to wish that life would always be like this. This is the same thing I am trying to live after the holiday. I am trying to relive the events and live in that beautiful way. I might not be able to always see these faces every morning when I wake up. What always helps me is that I am loved. In this holiday, someone showed me love that Christ is thinking of me. This is something very beautiful that I wish to live every day. Aunt Rose always says that in following you never make mistakes, and in the holiday, I followed someone, I followed Aunt Rose and Fr. Nacho and I was able to discover myself more. So this is something that I desire for every day.
Vincent: I have never felt this anywhere in my life, I am realizing my purpose and my value through this companionship so for me what I desire is to stay with this friendship because it is what helps me to be myself always.