Cecelia was born in 1966, making her the same age as my own parents. She was married and pregnant with TRIPLETS when the LRA attacked her village and captured her husband. Four months after delivering triplet boys (oy!) she heard news of her husband’s death. As a single twenty-year-old mother of three boys, the hospital director where she delivered sort of took Cecelia under her wing, but sadly passed away from Ebola years later. Cecelia worked as a teacher and choir director most of her life and eventually remarried and had a daughter, Mercy, with her second husband. Her second husband died of Malaria. Widowed twice, with four mouths to feed, Cecelia eventually found work as a matron and nurse at Child Voice. Today she oversees “our girls” (Concy, Grace, and Vivian) who help cook, clean, and look after us. Her daughter is still in high school and her triplet boys are all finished and hoping to get sponsored for a college education (which I calculated to be just over $300 each per semester. I didn’t bother mentioning it costs us about $15,000 per semester at home).
Cecelia loves to sing and dance for us and tell us stories. On scorching hot afternoons, I love nothing more than to sit and listen. Here is one of my personal favorites: One time Cecelia had just bought millet flour and was carrying it on her head as she walked back home. A military man began to chase her so she turned around and threw the millet flour at him (which could very well have been 50 lbs). When he came after her again he tackled her to the ground. At this point she was not far from her village and screaming for help. Wrestling with the man, she “bit his finger properly!” and when villagers came to assist her the man ran away. Needless to say I am in awe of this woman’s strength. She’s become Saint Cecelia to us. Really, all “our girls” are saints and we’ve been incredibly blessed to have them around every day to laugh and share life with.
Yesterday the girls showed Megan and I how to do laundry like real Acholi women. Which apparently means you put so much detergent in the water that your clothes make a crunching noise when they’ve finished drying. As long as our next lesson isn’t how to butcher and cook a goat, I think I’ll be okay.
On the agenda for this week: Art therapy continues and we’re excited about this week’s activity (one, because it’s cool and two, because we wrote out instructions/lessons plans for the translators so hopefully that saves us some precious time). Clayton and Brad will be testing the sanitation of water wells and continuing their microfinance research and work.