In May 2006, I had the privilege of traveling to
Receiving African name - I was greatly looking foreword to this traditional event. A time when the community would gather and talk about each team member, and give them a name that felt appropriate. On the first Sunday in Bufukhula, I had shared my testimony of how God had twice rescued me from certain death. Therefore they gave me the name ‘WHOLYO’ which means ‘survivor’ or ‘back from the dead.’
Receiving African name - I was greatly looking foreword to this traditional event. A time when the community would gather and talk about each team member, and give him or her a name that felt appropriate. On the first Sunday in Bufukhula, I had shared my testimony of how God had twice rescued me from certain death. Therefore, they gave me the name ‘WHOLYO’ which means ‘survivor’ or ‘back from the dead.’
Gathering bricks with kids to build new school building - One of the few pre-determined goals we had in Bufukhula was to help build a second block of classrooms beside the first building (below), which last year’s CapChurch team built and in which we slept and ate our meals. When we arrived, the community had dug boundaries and had made a large pile of hand made bricks. We joined them in transferring the bricks from the pile to the work site, a distance of 30-40 yards. As we started moving bricks, I learned that the ground was not level and I began to trip over broken bricks, hills, and valleys I could not see. When the kids noticed this, they created an ‘assembly line’ handing me bricks so that I would not have to attempt climbing over discarded bricks. I owe a big Wanyala-nabi (thank you very much) to these kids.
Linn Block / CapChurch Block – Soon after arriving in Bufukhula, we had our first and only accident. As she made her way to her sleeping quarters in the school Linn (a team member) tripped over a large step, hitting her head on an open, steel door, which I had almost run into only seconds before. After being examined by Nurse Angela (another team member), she was driven to a hospital to be given stitches. The only problem was a power outage that occurred just before Lynne was to be admitted. So, the stitches were administered via a flashlight and candle. Upon her return, she received a round of applause from the community, who had already begun to revere the fact that she had ‘shed blood in Bufukhula.’ Therefore, they named the school block where she had fallen ‘Block Linn.’ Later on, because of the hard work of the team, the community named the second block, “
Staff members hold my hand – The ways that people in Bufukhula view and act towards disabilities is quite remarkable. Whether I walked along unleveled ground in the village, along railroad tracks, or down a slight embankment, F.H.I. staff members like Moses, Andrew, or Livingstone would grasp my hand without any actions or requests on my part, because they saw that I simply needed assistance that they could offer. They would often remind me of the level places and they would walk on the unleveled ground so I would not fall. One day when Moses did this, he slipped into a small ditch. Even though he was dressed up, that did not bother him because I was all right.
Testify! - At church on the first Sunday in Bufukhula, I shared my testimony with an enthusiastic community. Clapping and cheering interrupted my ‘rhythm’ and of course, time had to be given for translation. Sporadic cheers from the congregation made this a truly wonderful and unique experience. On another day, after finishing a morning devotional, a woman stood up and danced, singing “Singolo, Singolo!” (Joy, Joy). Near the end of our time in Bufukhula, we had a community prayer meeting for the needs the community felt needed to be addressed.
Conversion – A few days after I shared at the church in Bufukhula, we paid a visit to one of my sister’s sponsor children. Christine (my sister) and Brent (her husband) sat beside their sponsor child as members of the family and F.H.I. staff talked about the impact Christine and Brent were making in the life of this family and the child. My mother (who came to Bufukhula last year) had told me about the impact that prayer and sharing your heart with the people can make on them. However, the fact that I had done this just a couple of days before could not have prepared me for what happened at this house. The father, viewed as the head and leader of the household became a Christian because of what I had shared just a few days before! Praying for him to accept Jesus Christ into his life was and always will be a memory of Bufukhula I will cherish.
Music in Bufukhula – Going to
A different psychology – One evening after we had finished dinner, the team, together with Andrew (F.H.I. staff) played a game called: “I have never”. Each person held up five fingers and we started talking about things that we had never done. If you had done those things you would lower a finger. When it was Andrew’s turn, he said “I have never felt discouraged.” Of course we all put one finger down as anxiety is just a part of the North American psyche. I need to be more like Bufukhula.
Wanyala, (Thank You) & lindé (Good Bye)
One of the members’ of this team was so inspired by what she experienced, she has decided to spend 3 years in Uganda to work with these wonderful people. Kristee Watson leaves on Tuesday September 11th, 2007. We love you Kristee!