Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Oldest and the Youngest

 As I have begun spending much more time in my new home in the village I thought I wound begin to introduce my new family. It's quite big, so it may take a while...I think for an average supper we are dishing out something like 15 plates. I will begin with the oldest and the youngest.  Meet Tata (grandmother) she's the mother of the father of the household.

Just a little bit of firewood
I don't even know her names as she is always lovingly referred to as Tata. We're not very sure how old she is, but we know she is old. Old enough by now she would be resting in some elderly village in the states, but here she doesn't have much time for resting. From making porridge, to pounding g-nuts (peanuts), harvesting millet, weeding gardens, looking for firewood, taking care of her grandkids, and great-grandkids, and doing any other housework that needs to be done, she is busy. Occasionally I can find her resting, on a sack, lying on the ground, but by that time it's a well deserved nap. I wish I spoke more ateso, so we could communicate more, but she's already communicated much to me through her day to day work. She may be old, but she is tough, and helps the family however she can. They say it's that hard work that has helped her to remain strong for so many years. She has lived through so many things, the LRA insurgency being one hard experience, especially since they took the life of one of her sons (Francis' father); Through Idi Amin's reign of terror, famine, colonization, decolonization, and the like. I would love to hear all of her stories, and understand them, which is good motivation to learn ateso.

Next. Ariokot Tofista, but that being a mouthful, we mainly call her Tofi (toe-fee). She is Francis and Josephine's first child. She's the youngest of the household at just over 5 months. Tata is her great-grandmother. She is what we would call in the states, "a bundle of joy."
Her favorite past time:high-pitched happy squeals
Francis talks about how people would talk about him, being a former child-soldier, and his wife, also a former child-soldier, and what kind of rebel family they would produce. But praise be to God! These former child-soldiers, have the peace, joy and love of Christ in their hearts and their family. Tofi is officially the happiest, most active and energetic baby I have ever met. My guess is she will skip past crawling and walking and go straight to running and jumping. Sometimes I can hold her up in the air above my head and look into her beautiful joy-filled face and wonder. What grace, what mercy the Lord has poured out on Francis and Josephine, keeping them both free from forced sex when they were abducted, and bringing them home again, to be able to begin making a family of their own filled with things that are opposite of their time in the bush. I don't know what plans God has for this family, but I know they are good and they will be used in a mighty way as they share the freedom in Christ that they have with other former child-soldiers who are still trapped in the horrors of their past.