June 25, 2013

Rats on rats on rats.

Fair warning: This post is about rats. Rats as in the creepy crawly rodents that live everywhere around the globe.

Today was like most days I've spent in Africa. I woke up, went to school, taught children, played with children, laughed and laughed and laughed over the most ridiculous things, cabbage fights included. But today as I was at school teaching young children in p.2 [basically like second grade] how to do puzzles outside in the breezeway a kid yelled "Rat!". Well, me being me I got up real quick like. Turns out the thing I saw running across the clay and dirt was about an inch and a half long with a tail. And you know what? It was stinkin' cute. Yep, you heard it here: CUTE. And so obviously the creature being that cute I corrected the student and said, "Oh, it's a mouse!" Well let me just tell you: I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. It was in fact a baby rat. Thus began my struggle of the day. That little baby rat was cute, little, looked harmless. But where three cute baby rats are there must be big momma rats. Let me preface this with the fact that I did not ever see Mom rat [thank you sweet Lord Jesus]. But through this whole conversation about the baby rat some of the boys in my class jumped up and decided to handle the rat like they handle rats in Uganda. They stomped on it. They stomped on the rat. The baby rat. And then it died. I was completely out of words. These small boys stomped on two of these baby rats and killed them. I couldn't even handle it and walked to the teacher's room to take many deep breaths. They killed that baby rat, boom! Just like that. The third baby rat was pecked to death my a chicken. This is real people. This is my current life.  And by the third one I was cheering the chicken on. You know why? Because cute tiny rats grow into big ugly rats that chew your face off. And I am so not about that life. So ya know what? Sorry I'm not sorry little rats, sorry I'm not sorry. Moral of the story is: stay far away from cute little rats. 

Hope your day wasn't as weird! 


June 22, 2013

This time for Africa.

I wish I could upload pictures. And I wish I had better control of my words today. Today I woke up [as I have the past three weeks] in Uganda. To the sound of women talking in a language that I completely don't understand. To the sound of a little two year-old screaming "mom! mom! mom!" again and again and again. Today I woke up tired. In so very many ways it is no different than waking up in America [well, minus the screaming child]. I took a deep breath, got dressed, and began the day. Except today I played and ran and sang and laughed and laughed with new friends. With children who were once living on the street because they had no one or no one wanted them. Today I hugged little girls with bald heads and said I love you to little boys who love having their picture taken. Today I held hands and skipped through a farm. In so many ways life here has become very normal. In so many ways I can't wait to see my family and hug them. But I sure will say, I love hugging those kids.

A little boy named Francis.

Today was any normal day in Africa [that would be a whole other post]. I went to school, played with kids, met with the headmaster, and then had a simple conversation over lunch. I asked Uncle Fred if he knew why Francis the street boy was not in our school yet. He seemed confused and had no idea who Francis was. I went into detail describing what he was wearing when I last saw him and Fred had no idea who he was. Thank you Lord for a camera and my love of taking pictures! I had taken a picture of him when he came to the house last week. And it became clear that he was homeless, alone, smart and that Uncle Fred had never met him. Uncle Fred's solution to this was to take a walk in Lira and find him. So we did. We walked the streets of Uganda looking for this sweet boy with an infectious smile. I can honestly say it's the hardest I've ever prayed to date. We walked around Lira Town showing his picture to all the street boys we saw. I had complete faith that we would find him. 

And then we didn't. 

We walked all over Lira Town and never once saw him, but asked so many to pass on that Uncle Fred was looking for him. I can't begin to tell you how discouraged I was when we headed back towards the house, 2 hours later completely empty handed. But God I really thought this was you. I thought you'd help us find him. I really asked Jesus! Didn't you hear me? 

We got back to Uncle Fred's house to find Francis sitting along the wall in the compound. He'd been there about an hour and a half. 

Isn't that so like God? We doubt. I doubt. I don't understand. And just because it doesn't look like I think it should it doesn't work. But when has the creator of the universe ever needed my opinion?

We sat down with Francis and Uncle Fred asked him about his story. Francis is an orphan because of Joseph Kony and the LRA (Lord's Rebellion Army), his parents where killed when he was 3. Already the miracle on Francis' life was beginning because though he was forced to live on the streets by himself at such a young age he wasn't a child soldier. Isn't that irony? Francis is living in a place where being homeless and on the streets alone at 3 is better than the alternative. He's been living on the streets 8 years. Until today.  When Uncle Fred asked him what he wanted. Until today when we loaded Francis up in the truck. Took him to the SGU children's village and suddenly he has a home, food, clothing, water, shelter and quite an extensive family. 

Here's to God's timing.