Shit in this world.
Writer’s note: I wrote this during my third week, which was a week after the bus accident. I didn’t post it then because I didn’t want my already worried mother to become even more worried. However, it is even truer today as it was a month ago. Another note, parents might want to pre-screen this one before letting their kids read.
It’s amazing to me that the more shit I witness in this world, the less it seems to affect me.
I pray that I will not someday become a bitter, untrusting old woman. I hope instead to reach old age as a compassionate and immensely understanding woman; a woman who sees the world through clear eyes… all the good and all the bad.
So far in life, I understand that each of us has the potential for both good and bad within us. It seems as if we have control of our actions and therefore the ability to control whether good or bad behaviors prevail. Sometimes, this is something we cannot do alone.
These beliefs became real to me on the way back from Queen Elizabeth National Park, when--in broad daylight-- I was awoken from a nap by the sudden stop of our vehicle and loud shouting in the distance. I looked out the front window to find a mob of people in the middle of the road about 100 yards ahead. All traffic stopped in both directions and at first, it was unclear what was going on. Then our driver stopped a man walking in our direction and we discovered the cause of commotion.
An act of what I have come to identify as, “village law” was taking place. Apparently, a man who was well known for committing frequent acts of robbery had stolen a vehicle. Villagers became fed-up with this behavior and decided to put an end to it. When I heard this, the scene in front of me became clearer. There were at least 100 men brandishing large sticks, metal poles, and even several thick cuts of timber. The weapons were moving up and down in two areas of the mob. Then, in an instant, as we watched the scene unfold, the crowd dispersed. They ran in every direction with huge satisfied grins plastered to their faces. Our driver told us they heard the police were on their way.
As we drove along the newly cleared road, I saw the bloody, bashed in remains of the man—I saw the skeleton remains of his stolen vehicle—I saw what Ugandans refer to as, “a crime of justice.”
I saw humanity at its worst.
I’d like to note two things. The first being for my mom, to know that as soon as I saw the mob, I instantly texted my cousin in Kampala so he knew we were en route, just in case we met trouble. The second note being that as I passed the dead “criminal” my mind couldn’t resist the image of our Lake Mburo driver who hit and killed a boda boda driver on our way back from the study tour. I couldn’t help but wonder how narrowly he had escaped the same fate that night. He too, “committed a crime” by killing the driver, and village law wanted to take his life for “justice.”
It seems almost ignorant not to have some kind of faith when in this type of environment. Even to believe that all things happen for a reason would make life here “make sense.” If you were to ask me to name the angels mentioned in the Bible, explain what the Wise Men brought to Jesus’ birth, or name even one Gospel, I’d probably give you a blank stare and a polite shrug (then, out of curiosity, ask Dan to explain the answer to me later.) Yet, I am certain that if you asked me whether or not there was a higher power, I can whole heartedly give you an honest, yes.
My angels, (whom I like to believe are comprised of those who loved me and have passed away,) are constantly keeping my Mzungu tush out of trouble for good reason; there is a lot of shit in this world.
I find it is easier to tread through the world’s shit when someone bigger than me carries some of the burden with me. I can’t explain why good people do bad things. I can’t even explain why I have done and will probably continue to (occasional) do bad things. I can explain, if only to myself, that doing bad things doesn’t make me a bad person. I must weigh each of my decisions on the grounds of, “is this good, or is this bad. What are the consequences for me and those around me?” Sometimes I make the wrong decisions. Sometimes good people do bad things.
When in doubt, I seek council with someone who has more authority than me, who will--in the very least--share the burden left from the consequences of my decisions and the decisions of those around me.
This concludes my blog-bombardment for the day. I hope I have intrigued, educated, inspired, or in the very least, amused you for today!