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Faith's Children

Notes from Uganda.

I BOUGHT A GOAT!  Thursday, November 2, 2006
It was hot today! We went to a rural market with thousands of people. We were the only Mzungus (white people) there, as white people rarely go there. We took along my son's interpreter-language teacher.
We split up and my daughter-in law took the 4 girls to look for dresses. My son, grandson, the interpreter and I went to the animal area. Along the way I bought a couple of beautiful fabrics.  My son thinks I am the only white woman who has ever visited the animals at this market! He kept saying, "I can't believe you're here, Mom".  I was quite a sight with my big floppy skirt and blouse, my big straw hat and my blue umbrella.  All animals so tame, we walked among the Watusi cattle with their twisty tall horns until we found the goats. I told our interpreter I wanted a tall one that was expectant. He found a beautiful black one without horns. She was very calm. As I stood there with my umbrella, I noticed the goat was leaning against my knee to be in the shade with me. The interpreter, my son and the owner haggled awhile, and then settled on a price of 35,000 shillings that included a new rope, and tax to the local authority who had a table there. One $1 US equals 1,800 shillings, so it was around $20 US.  Counting my costs of the trip, it would have been a lot cheaper to give one through Heifer International at $120 US!  No way to know how healthy it was, either.  I asked the men if I could see her teeth.  "Madam wants to see its teeth?" they asked.  Three strong men could not get her mouth open, so I gave up on that idea. It's lucky, because I didn't know that goats don't have upper front teeth!  Off we walked to our van among the crowds along the highway, about a 1/4 mile. My son loaded the goat in the back and gently shut the overhead door. She was very calm.
We stopped home a minute to wash up, and were getting back in the van when a guy showed up outside the compound gate. Our interpreter's brother's best friend's wife just had a baby and was bleeding badly and needed to go to the hospital. So we loaded the messenger guy in with us, and went through narrow winding dirt paths at the edge of town, I can't describe the bumps. We got there, and two women half walked and half dragged this young woman out to the van. They managed to put her on a reclining seat. Then her woman friend came along, as when you go to the hospital, someone has to come along to take care of you. So we were a family of 8 plus our interpreter plus the messenger guy plus the two women, a newborn baby and the goat in a 7-passenger van. We were really loaded and could hardly drive back up onto the road, but got her to the hospital ok.
Then we stopped at a roadside vendor with a tiny griddle who fries eggs and rolls them up inside pancake type things (chapatis), sambusas folded like an envelope with chick peas inside, and french fries made of cassava root. Delicious! We were hungry!
Started the long drive in the country. The road is so awful (same awful road that we took to the fruit tree farm yesterday and again to the church last night). Full of washboard ruts and big deep holes to maneuver around while trying to miss the walkers and bicycle riders. My son drove on the right side (wrong side), on the left side (correct side), in the middle, and swooped into ditches on both sides of the road. He drove so fast, because he said it makes no difference, you can't go slowly enough to be comfortable. The van rattled so loudly, no muffler, all the pedestrians and bikes along the roadside could hear us coming, that's for sure. We could hardly shout loud enough to hear each other. I had a grab bar beside my front seat, plus a grab bar up by the side of the windshield. If anyone likes carnival rides, they would love this ride!  (He later admitted it is more fun than playing a video game.)
We got on back roads, and drove right by the rural Church we had attended last night. Our interpreter is the Iteso interpretor for the Pastor there. Then we started driving more carefully down bicycle trails and narrow foot paths. Unbelievable! We soon arrived at a couple of round mud huts with grass roofs. We stopped at one, and an older woman with tattered clothes came up to us. It was the first time I had seen someone dressed that poorly. She turned out to be the mother of our young widow. We got the goat out, noting that it had left us a gift on the carpet in the back of the van. My son led her by the rope along a trail in tall corn and tall elephant grass.
We got to the young widow's home, and there were two huts there. She had been told to expect us.  She wore clean but plain clothes. Her children were cleanly dressed, and so dear and polite. The little girls curtsied as I shook their hands. Our Young Widow tied the goat to a tree stump, and then we all sat in the shade outside her mud hut and had a long talk. It was so nice to have our interpreter there. Her husband had died, and although the wife always moved to the husband's clan, she was cast out by them. So much for clans taking care of their own. So she moved back to her Mother's area.

My son and interpreter had selected her because she had no male relatives who would take the goat away and sell it.  Women have no ownership of property unless they are alone.
She believes in God, and said she had prayed to God for help when her husband died. I told her that when I decided to come to Uganda, I knew I couldn't help everyone, but I prayed to God to help me find one family who I could give a goat to. I told her that our God is the same in America as He is in Uganda, and we were praying to the same God. We took pictures, and my son gave a nice prayer. She gave me a big bag (about a bushel) of peanuts in the shell (they call them "ground nuts").
Was looking forward to getting home. However, our interpreter wanted us to visit his "Toto" mother who lived nearby. She had a fairly large house by Uganda standards (3 rooms, frame construction, metal roof). She was a lovely woman, had 4 years of high school which was unusual in her day, and made sure her son got an education. So we visited her and the "Tata" grandmother. I soon excused us and said I was weary from the hot weather, and we were able to take pics and leave without staying for a long time. Then we went on the wild ride back home. My son timed it, and said it was only 19 minutes. That's a long time for a carnival ride!
My five grandchildren (ages 9,7,6,4,1) were so good during our long hot, crowded day. They felt very good about helping both ladies. We were able to park in the shade most times (82 degrees), and when moving, had a nice wind through the vehicle. I have a sunburned left arm from the equatorial sun during the ride home, but it doesn't hurt yet.  We got home fine, and my son and oldest granddaughter went back to the hospital to check on the new mama. She was doing much better. The air conditioner is preparing my room for a lovely night's sleep. Bye for now.
Love, Karen 


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PROVERBS 27:27 "There will be enough goats' milk for your food…and for the food of your household."