Which has left us also feeling discouraged. Loving Bundibugyo is like having a baby with colic. I know, because I've been there. The baby cries and is so unpleasant that no one else wants to be around him. Bundibugyo is that way at times: hostile, dishonest, unjust, apathetic, manipulative, unfair. It is not the quintessential community of mythical cooperation, where poor people work together for the common good, or where those who want to help are respected and welcomed. Centuries of fear and lies have driven wedges into every relationship. It is not just the physical harshness of bugs, bites, infections, rats, snakes, mud, heat . . . though those are painful to watch our team mates suffer. It is so much more the entire societal system that conspires against Heaven.
A couple of days ago I did some half-hearted CPR (because I was pretty sure there was no reversing this death) as Oscar, a 1-year old, faded out of life, those last gasps of breath signaling that his soul had slipped away, that his heart had petered out, as his mother threw herself in agony to the ground. He had been admitted for almost two weeks, and we thought we had caught his TB infection in time to save his life. But his reserves were too strained, his margin too slim. Today a frightened toddler with terrible malnutrition cried while I tried to understand her grandfather's explanations: he did not know the child's age because she had just been dropped off at his home, abandoned by her mother after her father died. Just two examples of how blatantly WRONG this world can be. Evil should provoke us, to tears or to battle. We should not gloss over the thieving, or the sicknesses. But to continue on we have to choose which wrongs God has called us to pursue, and know when to protest and when to merely accept the suffering.
Because that is why we are here: the world goes not well. But we serve One who has overcome, by love, the worst that evil can throw at us.