This was one of those weeks where lots of things went wrong. A truck tire came off its axel. A boda tire went flat. Twice. Boda drivers were 30 minutes late and we missed our art therapy session. One of the schools forgot about our therapy session and didn’t have anything ready for us. A driver got in an accident twice this week and was fired (everyone was okay). One driver accidentally walked through a window and got all cut up. People were getting sick left and right. And so it goes.
But as the Lukodi Primary School headteacher told us, “It is all to be expected.”
There’s part of me that’s like, “No. It is not expected. Where I live people are on time or they get fired. If you say you’re going to do something for someone, you do it. If something goes wrong, you work as hard and fast as you can to fix it and move on. If you can’t make it, you call.”
You would think after all of my experiences in third-world countries the time- managed, fast-paced, and task-driven American in me would have diminished. But the residue is there.
For those of you that want to know what we’ve been up to lately: On Tuesdays and Thursdays myself and two other interns (Matt and Megan) go to the Lukodi Primary School and on Wednesdays and Fridays we are at St. Martin’s Catholic School. Over the course of those four days we meet with 48 students ranging in age from 10 to 17. The schools have identified these students as the most severely traumatized or war-affected. For most of them, we’re discovering this means they’ve lost one or both parents along with a host of other issues like abuse from extended family, demonic episodes, and depression. We meet for one hour, which is barely enough time to even begin processing their work, but it’s all we get. So, while this frustrates me, all I can do is hope that the creating process itself is therapeutic and aiding them in healing or just simply distraction.
Clayton and another intern (Brad) have been helping map out and get measurements of the layout for the new center. But mostly they’ve been focused on researching microfinance and drawing up a plan for implementing a microsavings program for Child Voice. This week they met with an already established microfinance program to talk about potential partnership for the entrepreneurial girls who graduate from the Child Voice and would like to, or qualify to, take out a loan. Next week they hope to interview former Child Voice graduates who received loans in order to find ways to enhance and implement a new microfinance program.
Overall we are adjusting very well. Personally, I hardly notice when there are 50 flies on me at once. I can ride a boda sidesaddle like a real Acholi woman. I take cold showers like a champ. I can eat mystery chicken parts without caring. I love the people we’re becoming friends with. I love coming home with red dirt caked all over my face and hair. I love watching these amazing kids create art and pray it’s helping them in places I can’t see. I love watching the village people garden, build and prosper. I love going to church under palm leaves. I love ending every day by reading what Jesus has to say and talking about it with people of all different backgrounds and opinions. I’ve done this stuff enough to realize I’m in a honeymoon phase and in a couple more weeks you’ll probably read the hurts and struggles instead of the romanticized ramblings. But I love where God has us. With all its challenges and conflict and joy and potential. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in getting here. We are unbelievably appreciative.
Some of the art therapy drawings, “Life Lines”: