Usually, when we drive into Bundibugyo, our kids pave a way of good will. They wave to any and all, and most people wave back. They anticipate seeing their dog and their friends. They are happy, and it is contagious.
So it was very striking to me to enter the district disguised among the CSB team. Though the girls were in uniform, and singing, almost NO ONE greeted them. I expected the same smiles and waves my kids get. I hoped for a sense that these girls had represented the district, and were appreciated. Instead I saw only glares or indifference. The spirit of jealousy was palpable. The people on the road side were not glad for these girls, they were envious. Then it got worse: we ran into a mob. Men who had done a minimal work to fill a pot-hole had barricaded the road. As we rolled to a stop they aggressively rolled large boulders right up under the bumper of the truck, and shouted for money, waving a panga and pick-axe. One even wore a CSB t-shirt . . but did they care this was the team? No, they wanted money. A couple of dozen onlookers merely watched the drama, not offering any help. The driver of our truck refused to pay, and the mood became tense and ugly, until Eunice decided that we were in danger of being stoned, and paid them off herself. The driver told us later that he spends 20,000 shillings each way paying off the traffic police at every road block, and had no more money to pay this impromptu group of thugs! I was shocked. Our status has protected us, and if we had been in our recognizable truck we would have been waved on through. But this time I got to see the hostility that people pour out on each other.
Envy and aggression, the further we went the more heavy-hearted I became for our home. Bundibugyo is a place of spiritual darkness, still. Glimpses of glory, yes, in the girls and their opportunity, but these are flickers in a sea of shadow. Lord have mercy.