A Travellerspoint blog

September 2012

things are getting better...

(Are they?)

One of the popular songs we hear often here is a chorus which says umpteen times ‘things are getting better’ which is of course accompanied by lively dancing and super enthusiastic singing and clapping. In some ways I admire the optimism and positivity, but this week we were visiting the TB ward (codename for HIV ward) in the local hospital, and we look at death and hopelessness in the face, I couldn’t help wondering how people can see such desperate and bleak situations so frequently in Africa and still maintain that things are getting better. These patients aren’t getting better, and even if they leave the hospital alive, their lives back home probably won’t get much better.

If I’m honest, it makes me wonder how our Christian message of hope, love, peace and joy can trump all of the sadness and desperation that we see around us. I ‘know’ it has to, otherwise it is the most depressing thing ever. I guess I am realising more and more that our faith has got to impact peoples’ physical situations as well as their spiritual needs.

Unfortunately for Bighair, his time in remote S Sudan is not ‘getting better’- his stash of toilet paper is running out, and there is none to be bought, there are rats in their bedroom, which nibbled his team mates foot in the night, and 2 of the team stumbled across snakes in the accommodation. So, I am thankful that me and Amelie are not there- (on a shallow note, potty training using local leaves would be messy and gross) but it does make me think about the people who live there and face these challenges every day of their life.
I hope that their lives here on earth will get a bit better, I don’t know what ‘better’ might look like for them- employment maybe? Or health? Or simply having enough?

On a brighter note, doing our local outreach here is going well (minus David's absence) and I am enjoying it much more than the lecture phase. It is refreshing to be out in the community and involved with the local kids...


Posted by africraigs 07:39 Comments (1)


Making a mountain out of an anthill

I remember when we were in Kisumu 2 years ago and were trying to learn Kiswahili and we were learning about how the greetings were literally translated were about 'the news'. The news from the family, the news from home, the news of the weather, the news of work, the animals, the children etc etc.
..In the last few days I have come to appreciate why the literal translation is so relevant in this culture...
Bighair and the team left at 4am on Monday morning, on a long and bumpy journey to an ungoogleable remote place in S Sudan somewhere in the mountains.

It turns out it is so remote that phone signal cannot be found, other than walking miles to an anthill and perching in a funny position and then picking up a bar of signal if you're lucky. Needless-to-say, I hadn't heard from Bighair for a day or 2 (although it felt longer than that!) and was quite simply, desperate for news. News on anything really, the weather, the location, their sleeping arrangements, whether anyone had been bitten by jiggers yet, the team dynamics, the community, their activities, and of course, to share me and Amelie's (less interesting) news (potty taining updates, new words, our local outreach schedule etc etc.)

But yesterday David managed to give the driver a letter packed with news which was great to read, and picture life there a bit- a super dodgy border crossing, a few near road accidents, a long hike, and a remote mountain tribe in desperate poverty drinking copious amounts of home brewed beer. It made me miss David and the team, and really hope that whilst they are there, they can be bringers of good news to the people there, whether through practical actions, or relationships, or dramas or whatever.



Posted by africraigs 11:40 Comments (2)

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