Saturday, April 24, 2010

Uganda 2010 day 4-Too much protection-too much regret.

We headed to Jinja this morning to do some business, exchange cash for pre paid cell phones, and other incidentals. Our trusted bus driver knew which bank was the least likely to be difficult and he was right, the AK47's had no problem letting us in the bank. Don't tell the captain, but I spent about 150,000 this morning, in my defense it was not all at one place and this girlfriend knows how to bargain. Now seriously haggling over the equivalent of 70 cents seems just wrong, but I heard it is offensive not to challenge them. For the record, I have no sensitivity to someone paying me full price ever...but I am all American like that.
Lest you wonder, I paid about 1,000 shillings for the priviledge of taking their picture. Well worth it to all 3 of us. And then these two darlings. Just playing in the dirt with two sticks. The younger one was social and smiled ear to ear, speaking for his shy older brother. I was grateful they indulged me and after a little while they let me take their picture. Note to self: Never ever go out again without a pocket full of candy.

There was much to see on the road into the commercial area. Lots of people walking, women carrying their babies on their backs,

lush green everything, roadside "store fronts"

and a few funny looks at a van full of fair skinned people with their cameras sticking out the windows. We're trying to blend in and all.

As each of us finished trading our $100.00 bills, we returned to the van to wait for the rest of the group...where God allowed this to unfold while we waited...

We watched as this little one drag the heavy bag of trash from who knows how far, across a street to this dumpster. Looking back I realized given any other situation, I would have made my way to her as soon as I had scene her struggling with the weight. But I am under the direction and protection of the leaders of our group and it dawns on me the reason I dislike protection so. I needed to run to her, not sit in the van safely protected from the germs or anything else. Instead, I sat, we sat, silently, stunned as the scene was unfolding before us.

Unable to hoist it onto the overflowing heap, she dumped it right there in the dirt, shaking the container to empty the last piece and left with the bag in the direction she had come. And then this...
a woman, thin as the stick she's holding picking, scavenging, searching, carefully going over each piece in the small heap. Don't be confused, this wasn't a bag of any substance...nothing large enough to identify, just garbage. As she picked, several young boys jumped up in the refuse and began sorting through. One found a banana, peeled it and shared it with the other two. And we sat. Paralized. Holding close our new shillings, the near equivalent of 1/2 a year's wages for either famiy represented in the rubble. Who am I and how am I going to negotiate for the freedom to get involved?This is too careful, too protected, too much to bare. Too much.

I will never forget the sitting, the silence, the regret.

So tonight we are safe after an afternoon meeting and prayer over each other, a meal and now a bed room. The woman...the boys...the little girl in the blue dress...I wonder.


Dan Nelson said...

They are lucky to have you, sister of mine. We are lucky, too, to have you. And we need you back when it's time, so be careful, avoid the AK47s as often as possible, follow the rules (as much as possible for you), and return to us safely.
I know your life is changing- please remember the value of bringing your story home to us- to do that, you need to come home in one piece! Love you!

Lynette said...

Jodi, knowing you, I know it killed you to sit there. Although i know (from traveling with you!), you think little about your safety when it comes to something that tugs your heart, but your brother is right: there is value in bringing home your story to us, and doing so in one piece. I can only imagine that what we see in pictures or on TV does not compare to what you are experiencing. Continued prayers that God will direct you! As I write this as you are soon getting ready to teach. Much love, my friend!

Lynette said...

Jodi, I know it must have killed you to sit there. When something tugs at your heart, you are compelled to move! Know that God has a reason and has prepared you for this time, whether it be to teach or it be to learn. Your brother is right: there is much value in bringing home your story to us. Praying for you now as you are soon getting ready to teach. Much love, my friend!

Lynette said...

LOL, sorry I thought I lost the first one!