We sat in a makeshift tent made just a few hours earlier using logs and a tarp. the side of the tent was open to the night air, but a thick darkness had fallen, such that all i could see were the glowing ambers of the fire a few feet away, and the faces of those immediately next to me, lit by the shine of the lantern. That i know of, there are only two circumstances in Uganda that cause someone to build a fire ouside their home; cooking and burial.
A few weeks earlier, our head-woman teacher had done to the hospital feeling ill. She was pregnant, and recently, hadn't even the strength to rise out of bed. The dependents that she took care of had recently been taking care of her. But the illness grew severe. Madame had no children of her own, she had given birth twice before, but both children had passed away before reaching even 1 year old. This was the third time she was pregnant and it seemed her body was rejecting this child, this offspring that is of so much value to the African culture.
At about 8pm, the sky now fully black, 300 girls begin to sing hymns and songs of praise at the home of the late Madame Rester. The songs are in Luo, and I pick only a few, random words; "pray for us", "peace", "Lord", "I believe". I think of the destination of these words, rising up from an unknown village in an unknown land, from lips that many never even think about, to a God that people spend their whole lives thinking about. It seems fitting that He should be the only one to hear and the only one whose gaze can pierce this dense night to view the hearts of all gathered.
We first heard, about a week ago, that Madame's baby had passed away while giving birth. The mother had lost a lot of blood. She was receiving transfusions, but her health and recovery were still hopeful. There were whispers of AIDS in the air though. People had gone to visit her, the school community gathered around to suport her, it even seemed she was doing better. A week later, I heard she was on life support. A day later, the vice principal called a meeting to say she had passed.
The fire was lit.
I don't know what to write about really. My thoughts are many, but lacking. I think about the care she received in the hospital and how blessed we are in the States. I think about how so many Ugandans want to see the U.S.A., and about how so few get the chance to go beyond the dirt roads of their village. I think about how some people must view the African people, as less civilized, less compassionate, and less immersed in the spirit; but then i remember the grief and sorrow and people affected by this death. I think about the deaths I've experienced in my own life and how death always seems so...permanently fake.
air conditioning compels you
2 days ago