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Friday, March 16, 2007

Mukiddi Back Home

Our elderly neighbor John Mukiddi has treated us with fatherly concern since our arrival more than 13 years ago. When we were in America in January he fell and broke his right hip. The xray showed quite a bit of loss of bone density there, which may be related to recurrence of a previous cancer. Since he also suffers from hypertension and heart failure, we were very concerned that he would never recover from the fracture. The day after we got back in February we were at the hospital trying to sort out his treatment and assist where we could. Over the last month he has held his own and even improved. Today Scott brought him home! His relatives helped get a spiffy red wheel chair, which Scott dubbed the Land Rover in it’s similarity to our red truck. As soon as he arrived I joined other neighbors in greeting him, a thinner version of his old self, but still able to command a presence and lead the gathered family in prayer. His long-term prognosis is not good, but it is still sweet to have him back home, a stone’s throw from our window, the world back in balance.

A fun moment: when Mukiddi’s brother, our other elderly neighbor Tabaka, came over to join the greeting, I offered my seat to him out of respect, and moved down to a smaller stool. He politely refused and explained that since I was married to one of his sons (Scott) he could not sit on a chair where I had sat, one of those little cultural taboos that govern in-law relationships. It was one of those rare moments of feeling part of the community, sharing in the joy of a homecoming, and being counted as part of the family.

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