I was at home this evening reading with a girl who ran into the house to dodge the rain. When another girl, one of 16 years came walking up the driveway looking a bit distraught. Dorcus. I wondered what was wrong, but all she wanted was an envelope so she could send a letter to her mother who lives some 2 hours away in the village. I heard the two girls discussing something, ending with, “I don’t know why she’s acting like that.” I asked who they were talking about and that’s when I got most of the explanation of her distraughtness. Dorcus normally lives in a house with her Grandmother, her uncle and his wife and their two kids and then one other boy. The grandmother had to go to the village to be with her first born son’s children because his wife was admitted to the hospital. This leaves Dorcus with just the Uncle and his wife as supervisors. The problem is, the auntie has moved out and now refused to feed any one but her own two children. Apparently this auntie beats her husband and drinks and is now refusing to care for Dorcus. Hence the letter home to her mother in the village. She wants to enquire of her mother if she should come home and live in the village now, because life is so hard here. And you know it has to be hard for her because life in the village is very hard and for that to be desired above here, means it’s that much harder here. There’s no secondary school there. So if she returns to the village her education is through. She doesn’t want to inform the grandmother about the way the auntie is acting because then the grandmother will feel pressure to come back and then who will take care of those grandchildren? Wow. It’s a lot for a 16 year old girl to figure out, and she’s just trying to figure out who she is, that’s enough trouble for any teenager. We prayed together and I was completely humbled by her prayer. She asked for wisdom and peace in her heart, and even that she would be able to praise God even in the trials she was going through, she prayed against satan’s attacks on her life trying to mess her up and distract and confuse her. Even though I felt completely unable to help this girl, I was so encouraged that she knew that our Father was there for her. She has a faith that will help her in this time of need. She knows she has a God who hears and answers even when she can’t tell how it will all work out. I’m thankful that when I’m feeling completely helpless that I serve a God who is able. And He reminds me I’m not helpless because I can call on Him.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Today I went to Aboket Primary School with Bena to form a club called Vision Club. We taught them about their identity in Christ, and how to be assertive so they don’t end up in early marriages or become pregnant before marriage, or involve themselves in other activities that would prevent them from reaching their goals. It was good to observe and participate some. This school is only one kilometer away from a very large lake that is in the middle of Uganda. We wanted to see the lake since we were so close, so we were told to just drive until the road ends and we would reach the lake. Well the road ended and we hadn’t yet reached the lake…but we continued forward in the vehicle a ways further, through some tall grass and bushes. Then we saw some people, we asked if we should continue to pass by car or to walk. They said we could continue by car, and a man ran ahead of us and waved us on. So we continued a couple hundred feet further, then decided to stop as the “path” was becoming even more overcrowded and we were getting quite near the lake. I remember as we were stepping out Bena saying something about snakes, but I quickly dismissed the thought so as not to become paralyzed in the tall grass. She said she feared them more than me, as if that helped comfort me somehow. Anyway, we started walking down the “path” until it turned into a small water “path”, where we were instructed to take off our sandals. I thought we were just coming to see the lake, but apparently we were entering into the lake…I saw ahead the man who had ran ahead of us was preparing a boat for us to go out in (he would be our transporter). I didn’t find it to reassuring that bailing all the water out of the boat was part of this preparation process. The boat was like a canoe made out of thin wood, nails and scraps of metal. The boat could not come to us, we had to go to it. Bena first, then me, then Brittney (a current unsuspecting short-termer with iteams). I could tell that the water was not that deep, but I could not see my feet. This concerned me a bit, considering that Bena’s comment about the snake was still quite fresh in my mind. But alas, we safely made it into the boat with only muddy feet and wet ankles. We took off and when we got out of the reeds and papyrus the lake opened up before us and it was beautiful. It was so quiet (no speed boats zooming around) and peaceful and calm. After a while I begin to help paddle and we begin our way out further. When Bena wants to know if we want to continue across the whole way to the other side or turn around and head back. She says this a little nervously, hinting that she would be more content safely back on shore, but also as a good Ugandan wanting to please. I then remembered a key fact; most Ugandans don’t know how to swim. I asked Bena, do you know how to swim? She says no and we all share some good hearty nervous laughter. I’d give her my life jacket, but wait, there aren’t any. Well, she was a trooper and we decided to cross the lake just to get to the other side. Every other little hand carved boat we passed laughed at us and greeted us. Bena began bailing water half way across, I’m sure that must have been disconcerting to her, but she was willing to do what she could to prevent herself from learning how to swim this very day. When we reached the other side we turned around and we actually collected a passenger who wanted a ride across the lake. Not only were we carrying him but his bicycle as well. But don’t worry our transporter says hes carried at least three bikes at a time on his boat and he’s even transported a motorbike as well. This is reassuring…somehow…so we begin our trek back across the beautiful lake. As we approach the reeds which signifies the trip is nearly over the transporter casually mentions in the local language something which includes the word “crocodile” which apparently sounds pretty similar in English. I quickly ask Bena for a translation. She laughs, not sure whether she should pass on this newly gained knowledge or not. I told her I understood one word, which seemed pretty important…right…crocodile. She then proceeds to inform me that they often see crocodiles here, and when she was just about finished informing me of that, the transporter adds, and Hippos. WHAT?!? Get me outta here. I’ve seen the wrath of those animals on TV shows. As we enter into the reeds, my ears and eyes are way more attentive than they were on our initial embarking. Every rustle, every moving shadow needs to be closely examined. The transporter tries to reassure us that they are not out usually at this time of the day. I felt reassured only mostly. Anyway, I started paddling faster and we made it to the other side. The transporter and the man with bicycle got out and pushed us as close as they could to dry land and we quickly climbed out and through the black water full of everything scary and finally reached dry land once again. No snakes, no crocs, no hippos, nothing but beautiful lake, calm waters and good laughs with friends. God knows what I need and provides. I have felt a bit sad or oppressed some the last couple days. I just wanted to be able to play. And today, I was given this beautiful adventure across the lake with my new good friend Bena. It was just what I needed and I am so grateful to God for blessing me with this day.