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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

more thanks, for community

Last Thursday, Jack's bike was stolen right out from under our noses, parked under a car-port by our garage-like containers, in the dusk or early darkness WHILE the whole team was here and we made pizza.  When people left and Scott was locking up, it was missing.  Later some of us remembered Star barking a lot . . but frankly the chaos of the team and the nightly nature of the dog's noise made this warning go unheeded.  We decided not to go to the police, but to pray and tell a few friends and see what happened.  Jack's bike had been stolen once before years ago and a friend recovered it for us.  I think we did pray with some heart once again because it is an emotionally stressful time for Jack to miss his brothers and re-orient to school . . . and he uses his bike for all his transportation, so it is a pretty significant thing to lose it.

Today we were at Christ School when we saw our normally quiet pastor, Kisembo, running across the football field to call us.  I thought someone was sick, but soon we saw our neighbor and friend Buligi wheeling the lost bike into the gate!  It turns out that two teenage boys who are our neighbors climbed over the cow-pasture-fence and stole the bike.  They took it to a pretty distant village and tried to convince a man to find them a buyer.  The man noted that blue child-size multi-speed mountain bikes are not exactly common in Nyahuka, and became suspicious.  He took the bike straight to his LC1 (local elected leader) who made enquiries about where the boys lived, and called on Buligi.  Now we have the bike back, and the families of the two guilty parties in cooperation with local leaders made a plan to call all the kids of our area together and publicly punish the boys.  I don't want to see that (I suspect it will be a beating), and in fact we don't want the consequence to come from us, it is stronger coming from their own families, a community statement that stealing (even from the rich foreigners) is not right.  I think I'm most amazed at how this played out on our behalf, with care from our community, and pretty much zero input from us.  Maybe that seems small, but it gives us a sense of peace and belonging.

Perhaps because last week was so consumed by other issues, we appreciate the re-entry into more community this week.  This evening we were delighted when our "grandson" Arthur visited with his dad Ndyezika and demonstrated his crawling and pulling-to-a-stand skills, as well as his dimples.  Then he was joined by Melen and Sophia (the late Dr. Jonah's sister) and their kids, so it was pretty raucous for a good while with bouncing balls and clacking blocks and babbling in many languages.  After dinner Scott tried to explain the whole concept of banks, investments, interest, and wise use of money.  Melen reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman, who works early to late to care for her family with wisdom, dignity, and calm in the face of crippling grief.  Later Assusi came back from visiting another mutual friend, a nurse who is also coping husband-less with work and children and finances and survival.  These friends remind awe me with their courage in difficult life circumstances.  I'm honored to be part of their community, to offer a meal or an ear or just work alongside them as they cope in ways I don't think I could manage.

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