The district math contest, with no warning or preparation, is occurring right now. I got a call at about 8 am from the math teacher, Desmond, saying they were all waiting for Jack and Julia. Who knew nothing about it, slurped down a bowl of yoghurt and granola and zipped down to school to spend their Saturday morning taking an exam. Luke went to the regional level a few years ago, so I guess Desmond had hopes for Jack, who is very similar, but a relative year younger. Julia is the only girl in the advanced math class, very capable, but mostly discouraged by it.
Nathan and Assusi both received news within 24 hours of the death of their elderly grandmothers. One of the true costs of discipleship here, being away from family at significant times. We gathered around Assusi and helped her get on a bus to Moyo, on the northernmost border with Sudan, a two-day trip which hopefully put her there just at the end of the burial ceremony, while the clan was still gathered. As the last relative in that generation, this funeral would be a unique time for many of the family to come together. Nathan also struggled with whether to go or stay . . . he had said his goodbyes over Christmas knowing the end was near. It takes more like three days to get from Bundibugyo to New Jersey, making it almost impossible to reach in time. In the end, after much anguish and discussion with his family, he decided to stay here. We toasted Lora Lee Elwood at dinner and read her obituary and listened to stories about her, which is a far cry from being at the service, but something. As it turns out she was quite a lady, working for the foreign service and living in many countries around the world. The family decided to direct memorial gifts to CSB, for which we are very grateful . Both Assusi's and Nathan's decisions required significant sacrifice and loss, to go or to stay. Heidi also lost her grandmother this past month, and in her case we all knew it was the right thing and important (and more possible since we were in Nairobi) for her to go back. John's grandmother died last year, as did my grandmother-like aunt. Neither of us went. These decisions are difficult, and individual, and we are thankful for the freedom to make them differently.
The water line is trickling . . because spiteful residents near the source routinely interfere with the system by opening the control boxes (padlocks gone, don't ask me why) and shutting down the flow. We received notice that all three massive water reservoirs on our property which supply the entire metropolis of Nyahuka are slated to be destroyed by the road paving project over the next few years. Not to mention all the pipeline. A public health emergency looms.
Two cases this week of acute flaccid paralysis, which is potentially caused by polio. This disease should be eradicated, but our proximity to the black hole of under-immunization in Congo means the risk always lurks. Not to mention our gap in vaccine cold chain over the last few months, thankfully fixed. Two six-month-old infants with limp legs wait to find out their diagnosis, samples having been sent to Entebbe.
The four protesting school football teams seem to have made their statement, and have returned to play today in the much-disturbed district tournament. CSB gets a rest, as the innocent party. A glimmer of justice.
Our primary school teacher neighbor came to request the mission megaphone . . for Nyahuka Olympics to be held on Monday, a track and field competition for primary schools. Hooray for kids, for sports, for organized activity!
Mangos are appearing.
Our dear friend Karen Masso has a significant birthday milestone approaching. We heard the president of South Sudan might be dropping by their town. Karen is the kind of humble and gracious missionary for whom God just might arrange a birthday greeting from the president. Also the Mundri team is NEARLY READY to move into into their new housing. At last. We wish them much joy and fellowship, respite and reflections of Heaven there.
That's the weekend news, from Nyahuka.