on street preachers, and the bellowing of cows

July 20, 2010

There are stories to be told, but this morning Isaac and I did words. Four times through size, bite and slide, better known as saiz, baix and slaed. Saize makes sense to me: potato, patato. But baix is the product of distraction – most likely a yellow Tonka, waiting on the floor in the sitting room: one out of about three toys.

In Wobulenzi, the street preachers use megaphones to turn up the decibel on words I do not understand. I woke to the sound of them this morning, loud, mixed with the bellowing of cows. For all I knew, the two were offering up the same gospel – the 7am prophetic word: a Jesus with the power to wake the deepest of sleepers. Or, in this instance, perhaps just me.

This morning’s epiphany, thanks to the megaphones, was the work of outsiders, come to save the children of Africa. Is there a gospel of help and hope, the end of hunger, and the beginning of democracy, that fails to transfer? I’m asking, not telling. But here, I am given a peek into Africa giving herself a hand up – and it makes more sense, to me, than any work I have watched coming in from the outside.

It makes sense to me that Align is getting behind locals that are doing work to help other locals. The innate understanding between one African and another is just one in a plethora of factors serving as guarantors for the success of this organization.

Two years since the Ojeras moved here from Kampala, and Millie says the people are still skeptical of their work. How much longer would it take for “crème,” as Beta so graciously calls me, here, walking the streets in crocs and Bermuda shorts to the rhythm of a sing-song, “Mzungu!”, called out like harmony from the left and from the right. I am struck, on day two, that the best I can do is to give words to the work being done here. The best I can do it to get behind the work being done here - work done with patience, commitment and life long plan to hang in there. Anything different is giving the megaphone to the wrong girl.

The street preachers fail to save my soul, and it is saved, simultaneously, as I watch God, in Africa, giving her hope in helping herself. In the meantime, I am rediscovering Paul Simon, like a hungry junior high girl with a crush. His music meets me here. Diamonds on the souls of her shoes, the boy in the bubble - Graceland. My Uncle and I were listening to him a few nights before I left home. But here, “she said, ‘honey take me dancing!’” takes on a new groove, when I can imagine Simons’ bongos move two year old Rachel, who pops up and down on the floor to most any beat, moving from her hands to her feet, and back again, braids bouncing in the edges of her ears.

I am settling in  - I think.


angela said...

your words are striking. this was so beautiful.

in my mind, there is no other salvation. Christ alone, you know? i mean, will they ever see democracy and/or capitalism? probably not? but can they still have gloriously full lives? 100%

love you.