Sunday, July 25, 2010

One last adventure - the sick / chicken bus (not lime green)

I decided to travel on a matatu Saturday to go out to the village to see baby Mercy. It is about 10 minutes on a main road out of Mbale - and then 40 minutes down a really bad dirt road. The matatu (window mini-van) looked decent. I was glad. However, it didn't fill up fast enough, so the driver told me to ride in a different van. This van's window was shattered and the seats badly torn. It must have been the "go to the hospital" van. One girl, about 13 years old, boarded. Her entire head and chest were full of sores, including lips and eyelids. I felt so sorry for her. I've never seen anything like it. The elderly man two seats over had on an old tattered suit, with no shoes. He couldn't sit up in the seat and kept falling my direction. His eyes were totally bulging and clouded over ... sad. We were crowded - definitely!

The conductor had stuck bags in front of my seat, so I couldn't put my feet down flat. I had to bend them under my seat. Unfortunately, the lady behind me had a rooster in a black plastic bag, with the head sticking out. She shoved it under the seat in front of her - into my feet. I don't know what this thing is with the chickens and me?! Yikes!

I arrived in the bush just in time to watch Mercy lean over and bite the naked butt of a little boy crawling past her. She was in filthy corduroy overalls and busy crawling around in the dirt. If you have seen the movie "Babies" - it definitely describes Mercy's home and life.

As it moved toward lunch, I saw a poor chicken being carried to slaughter. The funny thing - it looked like one of the rubber chickens we have for a laugh because it was so skinny and the boy was holding it by the head. I even asked if it was alive or dead. It was alive but for a short time. I was sure Bonnie (Illinois) would have been yelling she was a vegetarian. It actually tasted okay ... .

Later in the day, Anna wanted me to go to an introduction ceremony. Mercy and Anna climbed on one boda. I rode on a boda with Anna's husband. We took off even farther down the dirt roads into the bush - way in the bush. The introduction ceremony was almost as fancy as the weddings - tent for the groom's family; one for the bride's, and one for cakes. The groom offered his presents (bride price) at this ceremony. This one offered her family three cows, 5 goats (all tied where we walked in), one sheep (which kept wandering between tents), rooster, two chickens, big jerry cans of maybe kerosene or petro, huge bag of flour, 10 cases of pop, etc. He also had about 25 presents in bags for all of the girl's sisters, cousins, aunties, etc. All the men and ladies were in their African ceremonial dress.

As each name was called, the lady danced slowly up and collected her gift, with a huge smile. The groom gave one present to the bride's brother, which was in a bag - along with a rooster. This future groom had to be in his late 40s - the girl probably 20 years younger. The girl, her mother, and sisters were sitting on a mat between the tents. It was great fun. Somehow the beautiful native dresses look a bit better than my dirty travel pants and my Reading Rocks (done in rhinestones) t-shirt that is dirty and stretched out of shape! Rather embarrassing. It was a great engagement party though - lots of music and laughs. Mercy was clapping and smiling as the music played.

It was a great way to spend my last day in the Mbale area.

On a serious note, which I have already discussed with Cody and Melissa:

Please keep Mercy in your prayers. For breakfast, she was put on a mat and given a small bowl of eggs. Later in the day - the same, only a bowl of rice. All the neighborhood kids helped themselves to her food - with their dirty hands and snotty noses. Some stuck the eggs in her mouth. I have made other arrangements for Mercy, as she is not getting proper care at this home. But, truly - lift her in prayer for her health (a constant bad cough and malnutrition), her new housing - which will take place on Aug. 5th, and Cody and Melissa as they continue to try and expedite the adoption. Mercy has a beautiful laugh that totally melts your heart.

I am now in the office at Wilber and Sarah's church while Wilber is preaching the second service. After this service, I will be off to the bus depot climbing aboard the Elgon Flyer - a big bus, as I make the 4 hour trip to Mukono. Flyer is the word, as they even pass the mutatus, which are speed demons.

The service this morning was totally inspirational. As I've said before - that Okumu guy is one anointed preacher! His sermons always teach me something new from the Bible - and inspire my heart.

I will probably be off the computer until I return to Texas. I hope God has blessed you on this beautiful Sunday, as He has me.


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