Apparently sleep and I have issues...the way our room is set up, the window is around the corner and the bed area stays dark long after the sun comes up. I am so afraid I will over-sleep, I am just giving it up all together. The Captain will be so happy that I finally understand him. Ok that would be an overstatement, but possibly a small bridge has been started between our worlds. My cell phone time setting is stuck somewhere over the north pole and it would take some algebra to figure out what time to set the alarm for Uganda time...trust issues..., I have a few. As it turns out, Ambien became a monkey on my back in 4 short nights, so if someone will set up an intervention and ship me off to a program when I return to the Pacific Time Zone, my sleepless self would appreciate the tough love.
I am also developing a lust for lettuce and tomato. People get it with the burgers and because it is washed in water and not cooked, they move it off to the side and it sits, taunting me, the seeds in the tomato slice staring at me like an affair waiting to happen, leaves of lettuce curl at their edges like am embrace I haven't felt in nearly a week. Don't judge me, I've been battling this bondage for 6 days now.
Monday in Kakiira...we headed to the village, arrived in the van and were dropped right in front of the church to be swarmed again by the children waiting. The whole village has begun to anticipate our drives through and spending more of their time outside, or on the porch of their one room homes that line the dirt street, we hear the yelling of "Muzungu" by children all the way in. Pointing, smiling, waving, running to keep up, mama's with toddlers, pointing to us and waving. It's clear the children have been taught to greet us and shake our hands. Even the youngest comes toddling up in the meeting room to shake each woman's hand. I don't know how much English they know, but many times their reply is "I am fine" no matter what the question. Of course, our English and theirs is accently differently. Youth sounds like YUT, winner sounds like weener, etc... I had the girls, and the boys for that matter, twirling around my finger during the praise time yesterday. And formed a "London Bridge" trying to get them to move through in a line, but ended up being different ones getting under our bridged arms and doing one twirl, until they were pushed out by the next for a turn. Holding their hands and putting theirs on my cheeks was thrilling for them. Touching my straight, soft hair, another thing altogether. Today I will bring a small photo album of family pictures to show them. I can't imagine what they will think of my grandson and my daughter-in-law's very light hair. I believe they would swarm the Deeds in fascination.
Yesterday, they got bold enough to ask for sweets, though we each brought bags of candy, we have been warned not to pass it out in the village. That parents can work an entire year to give them candy for their birthdays.
We also saw 2 babies, with black bands around their middles. The pastor's wife explained this means they have been given over to the witch doctor, in trade for a promise of wealth. Once given over, it is up to this evil to decide when the child will be needed for sacrifice. The baby stays with its family until called. The wealth never comes, but what's done is done. I asked if giving them over was difficult for the mothers, only because I can't imagine even the thought being considered. "Yes, it is devestating". This is the picture of true, unbearable poverty. Why God allows this desperation I cannot fathom. It just cannot be true. My eyesight at that distance is God's protection. I cannot see the black band that others can see, I cannot bear to see the faces and its a good thing the van is moving, because don't think for a minute my heart wouldn't yank me out the door, open or not. Rescuing these would not solve the problem, more would suffer. Bringing them the gospel, the faith to trust God in all things on the other hand...that's the POWER that could change what's happening.
I did teach yesterday.
I had such a peace, thank you for praying. The woman at the well. Jesus with a divine appointment with a outcast, ashamed, Samaritan woman. Going out of his way, offering her what no man could...what her 5 husbands had not given her. What the man she was living with now could not give her...offering life and fullness that is everlasting, not fleeting, not dependent on another person.
I was the first of 4, each of us was thanked, one woman sent her child to each of the teachers with an avocado. I can't imagine the cost. Each session was followed by a time for question and answer or a report of what they had learned and they were told, "you need to ask questions, get clarification so that when you go out and teach these things you are prepared". Well there you have it.
Lunch was served and when I say lunch, I mean these people only eat one meal a day. What looked like stiff mashed potatoes was a white corn meal kind of thing covered in a ladle of beans. They ate with their hands using the corn meal to scoop the beans. They somehow had forks for us. And had fans blowing only on us and a box of cold water bottles was delivered to us, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. Their water was in sealed clear plastic bags. They would bite a tiny hole in the corner and squeeze or suck the liquid out.
Water bottles are filled here, then carried home.
We watched this woman struggling with these two water bottles. She has just stopped to rest for a moment before carrying on.
It was a good day. The Lord did great things, we did what we were sent to do. It doesn't feel like enough, but poverty of heart and spirit, and absence of God can be reconciled and joy and peace can prevail in the hearts of His people. Please continue to pray that we are strong in body, clear of mind, protected from sickness, vulnerable to people, open in hearts and led by the Holy Spirit. Thank you dear ones...you help sustain us.
Shannon has some great pictures on her blog at http://www.shannondawnphotography.com/