Saturday, July 2, 2011

A visit from a hummingbird and a day for single moms

When I went outside this morning I was greeted by a hummingbird. He was in the tree right outside of our door. He looked a little different, and a little fatter than the typical American hummingbird, but I was nonetheless very impressed by God showing up in such a clear and evident way to start off an awesome day!

We had breakfast at King Fisher and then loaded up the bus to head out to meet with Pastor Andrew at his church. He spoke to us about his mission for “Home Again” which is what he calls his ministry. I was very impressed with the details he had laid out and all of the different levels of current projects, future projects etc. They really have an excellent “business plan” so to speak.

He began to talk about the Karamajong people and how most of the women there are single mothers and/or widows, and most take care of many children. He asked that we share with them and tried to encourage them because their lives are very hard. He also said that the fact that a Mzungu would come all the way from America and visit with these women in their village and come in to their homes would be a great encouragement to them in and of itself. At this point, I was very touched as a single mom, and really hoped for an opportunity to share with a few of the single mothers to simply let them know that I could relate to their circumstances. Clearly, their single motherhood and mine are VERY different, but I hoped that in some small way God could use my life, story and circumstances to give these women some small glimmer of hope……be careful what you wish for. J

After he shared with us, he suggested we divide in to 3 different groups and divide up our supplies to go out to the Karamajong tribes. We all loaded up on the bus, and one of the women from Pastor Andrews church went with each group to translate….and show us the way through to the group of women we would be ministering to. Our friend was Jacqueline (Jackie) and she was just a DOLL.

As we made our way through some very unchartered territory, we were greeted with very confused glares at first. The children did not know what to make of a group of 7 mzungus traipsing through their tiny village! We immediately came upon a small group close to the road…..and a new smell we had not yet encountered. They had what looked like clumps of black dirt laid out on tarps and Jackie told us it is what they use to make “the alcohol”. Some men in a little shelter right next to the tarps invited us to come see what they made to support their families. Beer. Sort of. I am not sure how they manage to make much money from selling the beer, because it appeared to me they were just drinking it all. They had a bucket in the middle of them and some sort of tubing going down below the…..stuff that was floating at the top and they were drinking the beer through the tubes.

We moved on through the village to the very back where the women and children were. They greeted us so warmly and with such big smiles. They had chairs (probably the only ones between all 50 or so of them) and they took us by our hands and let us to our seats. They showed us some of their beads and bags they were making, and we bought a good deal of them!

Then, Jackie said it was time to “get back to business” (I really liked this group because they had a schedule and they stuck to it….as opposed to everyone else here who seems to run on “Africa time”…which just sort of means whatever whenever J). We thought she meant get on with the business of teaching these women how to make the bracelets and necklaces so that they could possibly create another source of income to feed their children…..but Jackie looked at me and said, “they are expecting for you to preach. Do you have your Bible?”. Alrighty then. So, I grabbed a friends Bible, and I went into my very first sermon! I was given my chance to not only share with a few women, but with the entire group, that I could in some small way sympathize with what they are dealing with, and that if they would put their trust in an Almighty God, and work hard, they would be able to take care of their families….which is all these women want. I told them that the Bible calls us to take care of orphans and widows, and that we as a group believed that God blessed us as Americans with much, so that we could in turn bless people like them. Personally, I think my first sermon was a homerun. J Seriously though, the women, LITERALLY the poorest of the poor, the least of these, smiled at me and nodded their heads and seemed to really “get” what I was saying to them. I blew them all one big kiss and they thought that was hilarious. Jackie translated that they said my preaching was good, but short. J Then my friend Rebecca, who was raised by a single mother, got to share in the same way that I did. It was amazing that the two of us, who feel connected to these women in such a special way, were given such an AWESOME opportunity to stand up and have the undivided attention of this group, and share how God has blessed us through our circumstances.

After the sermons on the Karamajong tribe hill were over J we went on with the business of showing these women how to make the bracelets and necklaces. These women in this culture are somehow just innately crafty, so they were very interested to learn something new and they all caught on so quickly. They were so proud when they got the “hang of it” and wanted to show me what they had done. I was so proud of all of them, and I somehow felt very at home with a friendship bracelet, taped to the side of a tree, showing a group of crafty women how to make something they had never seen before.

After we were finished, we left the supplies with the mama who was the leader of this particular group, and we began to say our goodbyes and head out of the village and back towards the road where Pastor Andrew was to pick us back up. Many of the women followed us all the way out to the street before they would tell us goodbye. It was really a very sweet time of fellowship with this amazing group of women, who are so poor, but simply determined to survive.

After gathering up our team from the different areas of this one large tribe of people, we headed to Jackie’s mamas house. Her name is Sarah, and she invited all 22+ of us into her living room, which is probably the size of a foyer or large closet in the US. We all crammed in, and Pastor Andrew shared that Sarah had offered her home as a place to house a bakery, which is part of the vision of “Home Again”. She told us that although they are able to sell out of whatever they make, it is hard because the flour, fire wood etc are all so expensive, and because the bags of flour are so heavy, and all the ingredients have to be mixed by hand, which is quite a back breaking task. We were able to see the people in the tiny room next door, preparing the rolls to cook, and then we went outside to see the large brick oven in which they cook. Again, we said our goodbyes and went back to the church.

We had a short time of worship with the 3 ladies who had been helping our teams while we waited for the children to get out of school. Then we all went to a large grassy area very near the church armed with balls and balloons and silly bands, and dug our feet in to prepare for the bombarding of the children! They all came rushing out of the school and hugged us and we played and sang and had a wonderful time. I met a sweet mama and her 2 little girls, one who was named Lucky and the other I can’t remember. Lucky held on tight to me and the baby just smiled and laughed at me. Even the mom talked with me like we were old friends. Lucky couldn’t have been older than 2, but she pointed out each and every mug to me in her sweet quiet voice, as if maybe I hadn’t noticed that there were so many of us. J Yet again, we said our goodbyes and loaded up on the bus.

We went into the market in Ninja and went to the “Source Café” and shopped in all the surrounding stores. We all had a blast bartering with the shop owners and buying fun souvenirs for our family and friends. Then we had a nice break at the café and we able to spend a little time on the internet, have a piece if cake (they don’t do much dessert in Africa so that was a first since we have been here) and some coffee. We headed back to King Fisher with all of our new fun stuff, and some of us took a quick swim in the nice, but very cold pool….but honestly the chlorine made me feel cleaner than I have felt from any shower here so that was nice. We had dinner as a team (with the company of all the wild cats) as the power flickered on and off so fast we felt like we were in a dance club under a disco ball… of course some of us had to do a little dancing. We felt it was the culturally correct thing to do. J

Tomorrow morning we will head out in boats to take a tour of the source of the Nile river….which should be very interesting……and then we are off to Amazima to work with Katie Davis and her Saturday feeding program. I am super stoked to see this program and to meet her, because she is my Jesus super hero.



1 comment:

  1. Very interesting day sweetie and a lot done it seems.
    I know you must have been very touched to have God send a hummingbird to remind you how much you are loved.
    Keep up the good work . You are an inspiration to all who know you.
    love you, gigi