Let me welcome you to our small three room African house that has an all-in-one living/kitchen/dining room and 2 bedrooms with a tiny bathroom attached to the bedroom encircled by a wall in a little village setting right out of Lira Town. We are renting this while in search for a more permanent house. The kitchen includes a leaking sink and a 2 1/2 burner camp-type propane stove, a small counter, a few shelves, and a very few dishes, with no refrigerator, but we made a temporary refrigerator out of a bucket with a block of ice. It lasts one day before we need to replenish the ice. This means that I shop for a couple days at a time and prepare food we will eat at one meal. We have no electricity or internet yet, but we do have solar for lighting and to charge devices. YAY! The house is a bit smaller and more primitive than we anticipated, but we love the setting. We are learning the culture here. Town is only a short ten minute ride on a bota-bota (motorcycle), yet we have a quiet, peaceful area removed from the hustle and bustle of town among the huts, houses, and small dwellings of the neighbors. The minister of Education that is over 170 schools, lives around the corner. Sounds of laughter and cries from the neighboring children fill the day, along with unfamiliar exotic bird calls from time to time that sometimes sound like monkeys.
The boys made fast friends with the children that are outside our gate and they wake early each morning and run to play a bit before our school begins. If the boys do not come early enough of a morning, the children will come to our gate calling for them. Mornings come early still as our bodies are all on an American clock, except for Gabriel’s, for we usually fall asleep at 4-5am. One day this week, we woke to a enthusiastic chant from the children, “Bring the bug. Bring the Bug. Bring the Bug.” We laughed and laughed. Gabriel had called Josiah “Bug” while at play with the children the day before and I guess it stuck. We hear, “Bug” and “Buggie” all day now. Gabriel’s heart of compassion for the people is amazing, whether carrying the children or wanting to help. Each day he has stories to share with us and most days he comes to introduce us to a new friend or baby in his arms.
David has made close friends with a young married man named Olugu, who makes chapatis at a little wooden tattered stand on the corner. As David spends time with him, he learns much about this generous man and the village, like how he feeds the blind teenager down the road or the poor villagers and cares for the elderly. He is respected in his community. One day this week as David was with him, a man began to cane his wife with a stick within their view. The older man is a good provider and his young unfaithful wife is an alcoholic and will not preform her “kitchen duties”. David had to turn away from the scene as the woman was crouching on the ground and in a short time ran away. Olugu asked David to judge between the couple, but we are so new here that we don’t understand their customs or language enough to be understood and they do not understand us enough either. It could also look like David has a relationship with her if he stepped in. Later this week, the man came to ask David some questions of the heart and David shared with him personal wisdom about marriage. These situations are hard for us to sit back and merely watch, yet we know God is at work to draw the people near to His heart. This gives us much opportunity to pray and makes us even more eager to learn the language.
The other day we heard a baby screaming all day. We all cringe over this, yet we never had the opportunity to speak into it in Jinja. I asked Dorcas, a Langi lady that I have hired to help me inside and to teach us the language, if I can go and speak to the mother. She says in her broken queen’s English, “You can. The people here are open. They cannot beat their children, for the children have rights.” The child that was crying has chicken pox. His mother was bathing him, yet he resisted for he didn’t like the bath for some reason. Josiah says the mother just hits him then. This is an opportunity to speak into the culture with God’s word and wisdom and love, yet there is a language barrier that allows for misunderstandings. Next week Dorcas will begin to teach us Lango, the local language. We long to know the language of the people to be able to communicate on a deep level and not just surface, therefore being able to teach that they might understand the God of heaven and earth and His “LIFE” given through Jesus Christ, His Son. This is too important a topic to chance misunderstanding.