Thursday June 23
Today we witnessed the beginning of what we pray will continue to be a stronger connection to the community in which Robert lives. Through a translator, we sent the word out yesterday that we would like to meet with the women in the community, particularly those who were pregnant or had small children at 11:00. We had a rough plan in mind to teach 3 basic concepts to these women 1) Dirt contains small things that we cannot see but will make us sick, 2)Wash fruit and hands before eating and 3)Do not put babies directly on the dirt, always put them on a mat. We arrived in Mayuge early in the morning and set to work preparing for our lesson. Jessie and Eileen practiced a drama showing 2 different ways of caring for babies; one that resulted in a healthy baby and one who was sick. They had to improvise and create babies out of a sweatshirt, a pillow and 2 animal masks! We made 2 hand washing stations out of a suspended water bottle and a pen and cut up long bars of the blue soap “omo” that African women use to wash floors, clothes, children and dishes with into 40 chunks. When we started cutting string to thread through holes made with a nail, Jja Jja Robert (Roberts grandfather) jumped right in and sat with us as we worked, laughing with us in his own language while we laughed in ours!
At 10:45 a few women began to nervously gather nearby. Aggra, our translator, told us that they were “fearing us” because many were not used to seeing white people. As we walked over to them and began greeting them with “Jambo”, (the only African greeting that we knew!), their fears began to melt away with each handshake. Soon we were laughing and talking – neither party really understanding the other but beginning to communicate none the less! About 30 beautiful women and numerous children and babies arranged themselves on the dirt around a large shade tree and we began to talk. Through Aggra, we shared the reason we had come; because our God has told us that we are to love all of His people and that He had told us to come to teach and share with them. That we believed in a God who could make us clean on the inside just like the water makes us clean on the outside. That Jesus is real and walks with us. The women listened intently and laughed as the girls acted out their drama with the “babies.” We explained to them how they could help protect their babies by placing them on a mat rather than the dirt and passed out clean cloth matts to each of them. The children laughed as they tried washing their hands in running water from a spout made from a pen and a water bottle and expressed appreciation for the soap they received for hand washing at home. The delight as they laughed with us and the excitement of learning something new that could help their children was evident on their beautiful faces and we came to find a special place in our hearts for each of them.
We can hardly wait to see what God will build in their hearts as we continue working to build a house!!