A Travellerspoint blog

July 2012

The Other Side Of The Fence

-27 °C

This week I witnessed a horrible siuation which I can't shake from my mind... I was standing talking with a few people, then we heard a few loud thuds, and screaming and running. We looked up to see a small girl, probably about 9 years, running towards us holding her head and screaming, with a wide eyed, terrified expression, with the watchman walking slowly behind her.

After translation, it transpired that the girl and some friends were trespassing on the land to hunt for firewood. They had been caught the day before and verbally warned, but obviously had returned, and the watchman had wanted to teach them a lesson. He had wacked the girls head with something, probably wood, causing a 6 inch welt and enormous egg which was rapidly changing the shape of her head. Her head was bleeding, and she was clutching it and sobbing and shaking. It shocked me that someone could use such force on a child's head. We found out later that the girl's mother had died a few week's ago leaving her and her siblings orphaned. There were many other factors about the event that highlighted different approaches to situations and different cultural perspectives, which I am trying to understand. Big Hair and I were discussing the event afterwards and thinking about REAPs teaching about fast-growing trees to use for firewood, and various other practical ways that one could reach out to the surrounding families. Our friend Cait, from David's well-drilling course in North Carolina in 2009, visited us this weekend via a well drilling project, and it was interesting to hear about her work. (www.HowManyCows.com)
The firewood event sharpened our desire for the kind of work we want to be involved in after this training period, and a stark reminder of issues on the other side of the fence...

DSC_0134

DSC_0134


Jerry can queue

Jerry can queue

Posted by africraigs 01:24 Archived in Uganda Comments (1)

Mermaids and Bootcamp

I often feel that this 6 month DTS (Discipleship Training School' is a mixture of Boot Camp and Big Brother. It seems like the daily challenges increase the level of intensity of our Boot camp physically, emotionally and spiritually...

Physically is probably the easiest part to deal with, such as the more simple African diet and our 60 day intense exercise programme 'Insanity'... (which our American colleague, Christian introduced us to, hence his new nick name, 'Christiansanity'...)

Living and studying cross -culturally in an unfamiliar place was always going to bring challenges, as well as richness, diversity and colour. Like on Big Brother, when the housemates are given various tasks, and their different characters and backgrounds provide (questionable) entertainment, there are a number of different personalities and nationalities here on the base (including a team of American photographers from the Hawaii base who arrived this week- cue decent pics of amelie I hope) which can provide entertainment (and immense frustration...)
Like last week when we enjoyed a heavy rainstorm, which brought thousands of large flying ants, (a local delicacy), to the night light on the base. All of our African coursemates went crazy, clutching buckets and large basins and grabbing handful of the insects to fry and eat the following day.
DSC_0023

DSC_0023

Unfortunately, our coursemates were not the only ones who consider flying ants a tasty treat, and before long armies of pinching ants came to our dormitory demanding their fill as well, biting anyone who got in their way. Another American coursemate, Katie, was concerned that the pinching ants would come into our bedrooms so insisted on switching off the light, causing much annoyance and frustration to the others. A compromise was found by finding another light away from our rooms with plenty of ants flying around to enjoy...1DSC_0024.jpg

The training course intends to provide formal learning in the classroom, informal learning through our community responsibilities (like slashing grass and shelling thousands of g-nuts to make a sauce) and unformal (I know, it doesn't quite fit?) learning through living together.

David slashing

David slashing

Our classroom experience this week has been eye-opening and has challenged us spiritually, which is maybe the hardest of the aspects so far of Boot camp.

The topic this week has been about 'Spritual Warfare' which is a controversial and heavy subject at the best of times. Our teacher has shared many crazy, terrifiying stories this week about witchcraft, curses, totems, ancestral worship, witchdoctors, demonic powers, child sacrifices, body parts and worse. It highlights our ignorance when it comes to understanding local cultural beliefs, (and maybe our narrow mindedness when it comes to things in the spiritual realm.) Some of the things we have been taught have not rung true with our own experiences, like the common belief that water is more easily possessed, that mermaids are real, and that a dream about an owl or snake equals death.

I find it fascinating that an event can occur, for example multiple car accidents at the same spot on a roundabout, and one person may interpret the event as a demonic curse and hunt to find an umbilical cord buried and cursed by satan worshipers on a nearby hill, (true story) whilst someone else may look at the environmental factors of the situation like blind spots, the type of road etc. If I'm honest, in many of the stories we heard, I could feel my small brain whirring to think of logical, rational explanations: medicine, mental health, genetics, environment etc, which I guess highlights my need to understand and explain events rather than simply believe that so much goes on that is completely out of my comfort zone...

We have both found it hard (and tiring) to understand and grapple with the 'truth', and i guess it boils down to the simple fact that some things we just don't know. It has been enlightening to learn what our coursemates think and believe, and how they would interpret various bible verses. Needless- to- say, I would rather never, ever experience any of the things mentioned in the stories, and it makes us a bit nervous about the outreach stage of this boot camp...
(EC)

Posted by africraigs 10:25 Comments (3)

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