Monday, May 22, 2006

This Week

This week Holly has been conducting a conflict resolution training in Apac, a district with virtually no infrastructure. Last week I was training in Gulu. On Tuesday night, while Holly was sitting in the dark (no electricity or candles), she heard someone yelling outside. While I would have encouraged her to stay inside, she peeked her head out to notice that the grass roof on the hut next to her was on fire. The security guard, the cleaner, and Holly were the only people around. While the cleaning woman pumped water from the well, Holly ran back and forth carrying jerry cans of water to the security guard on top of the hut… and they eventually succeeded in putting out the fire! On the same day, I killed two snakes in our yard. They were small but very poisonous.

Last night I woke up to a strange sound. I got out of bed to see what it was and noticed that our entire house was being stormed by giant flying ants (we have the only security lights in the neighborhood that function when electricity is off). In the morning I went outside to find that our gate and parts of our house were plastered with flying ants. I looked at the mess with disgust. Little did I know that all of my neighbors were enviously looking at our house. As soon as Sandra came over, she immediately set her bag down and started gathering the ants. “Wow, this is going to make a great dinner!” She said with incredible excitement. She invited others to come and collect—they even got to keep the ants that they found. Instantly our yard was full of people of all kinds, tearing up our grass to find the treasure. White ants are a delicacy here in Uganda. I’ll let you know what I think after tasting them.

Tonight we’re having a little welcome home party for Holly. This morning I also slaughtered two chickens, and yesterday we bought a small local grill (which consists of a warped wheel rim of a car on posts and strips of metal welded together for the grill). All of our guests will no doubt wish we had more ants to serve.

I spent most of the day today helping a 12 year old girl from an Urban IDP camp. When CPA found her, she couldn’t walk due to a serious infection on her thigh. The infection has become so bad that it has been attacking the bone. The infection has been getting worse for two years. Her family couldn’t afford to take her to a real doctor, so they found a “local” one in the camp. He basically drained the swelling, and most likely made things worse. By the time we found her and took her to the hospital, the doctors told us that she may lose the use of her right leg entirely. I drove her around from place to place getting her x-rays, medication, and blood work. The hospital is struggling so much that they needed me to pay for the envelop to store her x-rays. We scheduled her surgery for Thursday (which is a small miracle in itself). What 10 year old doesn’t get a scraps and bruises—but in the camps this kind of small injury may have life altering consequences. Let’s pray for her.


Ryan said...

Thank you for sharing... As I listened to your stories and prayed for you this past week, I felt like I should offer up many thanks for the ways that you and Holly are living out against the evil and sorrow that plagues much of life there. Holly, you put out the flames engulfing a neighbor's home. You and the community around you would not let the dragon win this time. You are not helpless against the evil there, even though your eyes may hurt from the flames and you may need to come up for air, you are putting out fires and in the midst of it, fanning the flames of love and peace and justice that comes from Him. And Ben, we talked in NYC about your desire (I'm paraphrasing so forgive me for not being completely straight on with this) to provide a buffet for these new neighbors but only felt like you were an appetizer, I laugh (gleefully) at the ants. While you didn't have them sent and hope for them to come upon your house, you still were able to welcome people into your yard and offer them a meal, more than an appetizer. Thank you for your stories, and thank you God for Ben and Holly and their desire for Your love and peace to reign in Uganda, thank You for providing this community in Lira with Ben and Holly and Ben and Holly with this community. ~Blessings and peace to you two!

Anonymous said...

I love your crazy stories so much and especially because you can tell them in a way that makes a person laugh. By the end of these three years you two will be "bomb-proof" as we say in the horse world. (It means you can handle anything without loosing your rhythem)

Anonymous said...

Your words are encouraging. I'm working on a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence training right now. Sometimes I get bogged down by the logistics and emmense preparation it takes to put it together. Listening to your encouragement helps me get out of my head and look at my work with new perspectives. Thank you.
By the way, the white ants tasted pretty good!--Ben

Nickie said...

Thanks for sharing. I'll be praying for the girl wiht the leg. I'm sure she can hardly believe someone is willing to help her the way that you have. What a beautiful way to spread God's love.

I'm glad you liked the ants! I never would have thought to eat them. I was thinking "what a mess, I wonder how they will clean all those ants up" and the neighbors were thinking, "yum!"

Love you guys. I'm praying lots for you and your safety and joy.