Going on a ramble
Alan & Beryls’ Ugandan Ramblings
27th April 2016
I’m off – off on a ramble back to Uganda. We left Uganda last August not knowing what the future held, but knowing it would be difficult. We were not wrong. One liver transplant (for Alan) and the devastating, unexpected loss of our daughter later, we are forever changed. Many know loads of details, but if you want to know more, drop us a line. We are doing well, healing inside and out, and beginning to cope with life again.
So, Alan’s upturn of health, thanks to the generous donor, their family, the NHS and our healing God, has enable us to refocus our sights on Love in Action in Uganda. We have kept in close touch with our fabulous team there, but it is time for a visit. Alan cannot travel to a malarial country until a year after his transplant, so he is reluctantly tied here till he gets an all clear to go.
I, however, (large grumpy and jealous moan from Alan) can go. I believe Alan can be trusted to stay well for a couple of weeks so I am returning for a quick visit, flying out this Sunday. My companion will be Dora Maria (from York), who is known to many. Please pray for us both as we go on this flying visit.
One friend wished me a happy holiday. I expect it to be far from a holiday, rather a return to work; but I do know it will refresh and re-inspire both myself and by proxy, Alan.
I have, over the years, trained myself not to yearn for England when I am in Uganda, or for Uganda when I am England. Homesickness has been the downfall of many a missionary. In the last few days though I have found myself indulging in memories of little faces, of songs and welcomes, of people and of home.
Funny thing is though, that thoughts of insects, mud, dust, moths, snakes and mildew spring to mind just as rapidly. I am not one for clothes, but I had a favourite brightly coloured maxi dress made from a cottony material. It was such a favourite that when it wore out, I found another exactly the same and replaced it. On one return to Uganda I found that the precious replacement had holes in it the size of Hyacinth Bouquet’s fine china dinner plates. I never found out whether the culprit was a moth, a rat or a team of cockroaches.
I am musing that it is often not the large things that cause us to unravel, but the small. Life is full of a multitude of the small aggravations, that can cause nuclear sized meltdowns in me. The tiny things though, are the big things. I am learning not to despise small joys, for in the end, they are the big things, and the things that matter.
I had an amaryllis plant here (UK) this Christmas. It had 10 TEN blooms on it, almost simultaneously. A joy to behold. We stuck it on the window sill, so that our dog-walking neighbours could enjoy it too. I also have an amaryllis bulb in my garden in Uganda. It has about 5 blooms on it in season. It lasts ages – except for the time it was picked and put in a vase to welcome me home. With the greatest of self control I hardly mentioned it. Might have gone on about it later, but at the time I enjoyed it’s welcome. I hope that during this visit the amaryllis stays where it bloomin’ belongs.
I plan to visit our schools, both primary and secondary. I want to congratulate some children on their good exam results. I will give some others the benefit of my wisdom. I intend to check on our health clinic – situated between the two schools. I want to look at the books to see what illnesses we are treating, and make sure that the supplies are behind a locked door. I am going to enjoy seeing improvements made, and no doubt have a little moan if I discover lost ground.
Love In Action is built from a myriad of small things. Small kindnesses, small donations, short visits, short people. These small things are the cement that holds the organisation together. The large donations build housing, class-rooms and have dug a bore hole. We could not do without large investments or large buildings but I am going to check on our small things too – kind words, clean rooms, enough pencils, and whether the minuscule ants are nesting in my plaster (band-aid) box.
The bible tells us not to despise children and also not to despise the day of small things.
Today is our daughters birthday. Helen always wanted us to be home for her birthday, and so we tried, and often succeeded. It was a small thing, but I am glad we tried. In the end the small things are the big things. Our children are our most precious “small things”, but one day they will be our strength, our leaders, our carers, our successors. James, our son left school at 16, having decided after a brief try that college was not for him. He has worked ever since, and just been awarded his MBA (Masters in Business Administration) from the Open University. It often seemed ironic to me that whilst we were championing education for children in Uganda, and indeed helping some through Uni, that as a family we did not have a degree between us. We have rejoiced with many there as they have celebrated their successes, but as a mum and dad, we have to say that our latest celebration for James was very sweet indeed.
Our tinies in Uganda leave nursery school with a graduation ceremony, cap and gown included. It is very sweet. We all joked with James that his graduation was similar. He had helped to get dressed, had a last wee before going into the auditorium, a wave to his mum and dad, looked shy on the stage as everyone clapped for him, and we all had tears in our eyes. Congratulations James.
Today I am packing, and Sunday Dora Maria and I fly. There are no longer direct flights to Uganda, so this is a round the planets trip.
For those who pray – please pray for our husbands Alan and Simon whilst we are away – Alan’s health especially. Safe travel, and a useful and a productive time whilst we are there.
Beryl (and Alan)