*An excerpt from the annals of Sean, where punctuation and grammar have no master*
the other day was full of stuff. it began with a woman coming in looking for help from her crazy son. her son had gone insane, become violent to the point of needing to be tied up and thrown on the back of a bicycle in order to get him to the police station where he was locked up for the night. they then were going to release him that day, and from his previous actions the mother had good reason to be scared. i guess he threw a plate at her and cut her face open, and she was still swollen when she came into the office. we sent people out for investigations into the entire matter in order to help this woman and discovered that the boy had also raged on a brick house and knocked it down, beat up his mother and his younger siblings, and was a big hassle in the town, to the point that all the villagers were hiding anything that could be used as a weapon. we agreed to help to remove him, but had to do it the following day when there were drivers available.
then one of our slashers, a pastor from bakijulura actually, came in. we'd been helping him out as he was caring for a sick little girl for a family that had no money. he came back to ask for money to get her out of the hospital, or something - i can't quite remember the reason or how much he needed. it ended up with us really having no money for it, but we could at least help with transport to get him there to check up on her. i scraped together 5,000 shillings from my desk drawer (actually 3, and 2 from vicent) and gave that to him. then we waited for him to visit and give us the word on how much he needed for her medicine, or whatever it was.
in the meantime, mother went to her town to start the process of getting her crazy/insane/mad son out of jail, which meant the procurement of a big hefty guy to escort him back home. which would have gone fine, except that her boda-driver crashed into a dog on the way to the prison and she hit the ground face first. i can't imagine how that would have felt with an already busted up head... especially given that she was on the way to get the pain-causer out of jail for his actions. she went into our clinic and was treated there. no word on whether the insane son ever got out of jail... due to the lack of drivers, and the mother's accident, we had to wait an extra day, and by that time kampala had gone nuts, so there was no taking the boy into the city to a hospital.
a few hours later after work was finished, the pastor showed up at our house and informed us that he had been to the hospital and the girl had died. he needed help getting her body back home, so we jumped into a truck and drove out. we waited there for a few hours as they were trying to find the cashier, who had mysteriously vanished, in order to settle the final bill. once they found the cashier, we walked to the morgue and placed the girl into the bed of the blue double-cab. i've never driven so gingerly on these roads. this girl... she was tiny. couldn't have been more than 4 years old. so sad. i never did get final word on what was wrong with her, but from what i gathered it was some sort of infection in her lungs, and not tb. the hospital was at the top of a hill in kyotera, about 40 minutes from where we live. in kibaale we don't normally see the sun come or go due to us being in a sort of valley surrounded by hills. but i sat on the sidewalk and watched the sun go down that day while this tiny body was placed in the truck.
i didn't get home until well after 8 that night as her family was deep in the bush. it was a touching time though - usually, so far, arriving home with a passed love one is something that totally jars me out of reality just because of the cultural difference. some people here believe that you need to wail and scream in order for the spirit to be passed into the next life, and showing up to a dozen people doing that kinda sends me into this protective shell where i feel no emotion. this was different... as we showed up, only immediate family were there gathered around a fire. the only thing i could hear were the soft whimpers of the mother still trying to accept what was happening, and the kids murmuring around the fire. the father, who i was told was over 80, came up and thanked me for the help, then took her body from the truck and walked inside. this while one of his sons around 8 years old stood beside me and watched. i think the thing that got me was that kid's eyes as he looked on and turned to me to softly ask 'how are you?' . probably only those that have been here can imagine the significance... it probably didn't mean much to him - in fact it was probably one of the few english phrases he knew, but it still hurt to hear it while seeing his eyes and watching him watch his sister be brought into the house. tough night.
in other news, kampala lost its collective mind on thursday. riots, looting, 12 people dead, then it spread out to mpigi, masaka, kalisizo and kyotera. we holed up in kibaale and had our masaka coworkers join us for the evening. thankfully things got better sooner than expected and everything is back to normal. still, very odd to hear of violence creeping its way toward you like a bush fire. weirder still to contemplate options and what-ifs. no one here was externally concerned, but we probably all felt at least some anxiety on the inside. especially when the paint can exploded in the garbage fire. my heart stopped.
that's uganda for a couple days.
Written while listening to: some kids playing soccer