Okay, so Jesus is our ultimate model of service, but I think it’s helpful to have example of what this looks like in as a flawed human being and I think Ugandan women model service to a level I have never seen before. Teddy, for example get up at 5:30am every morning to make sure everything’s ready for Gerald and Jeremy (whose only 7, yet leaves the house at 7am with his father, and doesn’t go to bed till 22:00 like me – I don’t know how he stays awake!). Then she sets up breakfast so it’s ready for me at 7:15.
When I was in mummy’s house, Evelyn would be up at the crack of dawn sorting out the animals, putting them out to graze. Cleaning the house, washing clothes, making my breakfast (omelettes or eggy toast usually, yummy), preparing food for dinner, everything that needed to be done and this would carry in throughout the day/evening. Then both Evelyn and Teddy go to bed after me, so I’ve concluded either Ugandans must need less sleep than me, or I’m very lazy!
When we have bible study and youth fellowship at church a few of the girls spend most of the evening sorting tea (bread and milk or water tea). Now in the west this wouldn’t involve too much work – we serve Tea & Toast before our morning service at City Life (myclc.org.uk). But here, they aren’t using kettles to boil water (I’m not sure you can boil milk in a kettle anyway?) but they use charcoal. So it takes a very long time, and it’s certainly more work than flicking the switch on the industrial water boiler we have at church.
Let me give you an example. We sat down to a late dinner around 22:00 at night. Matoke, sweet potatoes and beef in a Ge-nut sauce (like peanuts). I can’t eat ge-nuts, so I respectfully declined (we think I’m allergic to them). I carry on with the rest of the food, content. Meanwhile, Teddy has disappear to the kitchen and begun defrosting some fish for me to eat. She communicates with Gerald and Joan (in Lugandan), and Joan tells me they are cooking me some fish. All within th espace of about 30 seconds, and I haven’t even noticed she left the table.
Another example, my shoes get very dirty from the dust, but as they are going to get dusty every time I leave th echo use I haven’t bothered to clean them (lazy I know). One morning I put my shoes on to leave and noticed they were damp. I assumed something had spilt on them in the night but when I felt inside, they were dry. It was then that I realised someone had cleaned the for me, I hadn’t asked, they had just seen they needed to be cleaned and got on and done it (or maybe they were asked by someone else who saw they were dirty I don’t know). I left the house feeling very loved that day.
So to all the women who have served me in anyway during my time here, thank you. Thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice, for not complaining and for doing my washing (thanks mum for the travel wash, but I haven’t needed it…)