Observation 5: Africans are very sensitive and alert to the needs of others and are quite ready to share their resources.
If the last few observations have been difficult for our Western stomachs, today’s will come as a big relief. At the mission, we often are the objects of begging from individuals in the community. Our relative wealth is perceived as an asset that ought to be shared with those in need. While this shameless cadging is common to our ears, such behavior is not traditionally the norm.
Maranz writes that as social cohesion breaks down, begging is becoming more common, but the conventional means for dealing with the needs of the destitute was through discreet inquiry. He writes that women get up to pound grain at dawn together. If they find anyone not working, they quietly inquire whether the individual has no grain to prepare, in which case they provide some. In this way, the needs of the poor are taken care of away from the public eye of the entire village.
Encouragingly, we see this practice at work in our own congregation in Nakaale. Lomilo Paul has, of his own initiative, begun a diaconal assistance committee to inquire into the needs of members and to provide them with assistance without the need of involving the mission. He is of the mind that the congregation ought to be involved in the needs of its members rather than the mission being a constant source of begging. This is, of course, a tremendous step in the life of our church and a great encouragement to the missionaries ministering in Karamoja. In this way, a traditional aspect of Karimojong culture has been brought under the lordship of Christ in the lives of our congregation.