Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Night in a Killer's Hut

Damasko and his hot looking bike.    

Taken from boda directly behind these.
Note: Libraries of Love Executive Director Trudy Marshall returned to Uganda on March 6. She will remain in Uganda for the next 5 months and send periodic updates.

How to begin? A week in Kampala was difficult. It is a huge, congested city. Not having a car, I have to constantly return to the hub of the city to take a different public transport van if going to different school. The matatus are crowded and dilapidated. My other choice is a boda motorcycle taxi. Neither are particularly safe. Fast forward. I woke up this morning wishing I was with my grandkids - and car! Though I always miss the kids - wishing I was home this badly is not the norm for me. I have traveled too many years. I decided I needed to stay home at the Okumus, have a quiet time with God. I prayed for peace - today. I admit, after prayer, I played the accordion for some time. Laugh on!

My ‘peace’ soon arrived in the form of Damasko (14 yrs.) on his hot looking bike, provided by one of our Dell volunteers. Those who read last year, will remember Damasko, his sister, Florance; cousin, Leah; and mother, Grace. The kids were making top grades in school, but had been sent home over and over because there was no money for fees. They lived in a mud house the size of two outhouses put together … with no furniture, far off in the bush. We enrolled the kids in the free lunch program provided by Bethany Methodist - and my grandchildren decided to sponsor the three kids’ school fees. Damasko is unique … like a little man. He worries about our spending money on him. If I show him a fancy pair of shoes, he will say … no, no, we can find something that doesn’t cost so much! That is Damasko!

Back to his arrival. Damasko came wheeling up in the yard and looked at me with that cute grin. He said his heart had been pounding ever since he heard I was here because he was so happy. I quizzed him about how the family had been doing. The small field they worked in to earn a tiny amount of money had been closed. His mom hadn’t been eating most days. Because Damasko has started high school, he needs to eat at school, and was using the last of the small amount his mother had saved. The kids have no breakfast, no food at break time … only the school lunch, which is a bowl of porshe (like cream of wheat), and no meal in the evening. The girls walk one hour to school and home again. It was hard not to cry in front of Damasko, as I have come to really love this family.

As we talked, I said, “Damasko, let’s plan on doing some shopping on Friday. We will then catch a boda home and I will spend the night with your family.” I only wish I could send his excitement through the computer. It was over the top! I ask him where I would sleep and he replied - in the dirt. I said, “Damasko, I bought your mother and the girls a mattress, and you a big quilt - and your putting me in the dirt?” He tried to stay serious as he said, “Yes, the dirt!” Then he broke out laughing.

Damasko then told me they are not in the same house. Their landlord let them move into a slightly larger mud house, which is near their house, at no cost. When I questioned why, he said it was a killer’s house. It seems the man who lived in the house recently killed a person from another tribe. When they came after him, supposedly he ran off to Kenya. Damasko said he and his family can stay in the house until the killer returns. Being a bit shocked, I questioned him. ”Damasko, you don’t think the killer would come back this Friday, do you?” “I don‘t think so,” he replied! Geez! What I always wanted to do - spend the night in a killer’s home, hoping he doesn’t return!

I took this beautiful kid to a small market that is close, and we bought a loaf of bread, rolls, butter, sugar, and flour, with a promise that we would do more shopping on Friday. As we were leaving the store, he said, “Trudy, I really needed a toothbrush, but I was afraid it would cost too much here, so I thought we should wait until Friday!”
We put his food in the basket on the front of the bike - and he was off to bush, with a huge smile!

Keep me in your prayers Friday. Pray for my claustrophobia in that small, dark house AND that there are no bangs on the door in the middle of the night!

Thank you again for reading. I had already written a different update I intended to send, but thought you might enjoy my upcoming adventure. I will send the other short news in a few days - and then a follow up about my night in the bush!
Love and best wishes to each of you.

- Trudy

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