The days skitter along on feet of their own, driven by the needs of each. June has reached and I’m still acclimatizing myself to the idea of 2021. So many plans begun, half-baked and left to the unknown, now picked up again and only in grace completed. These years calcify what has become a perpetual preface, “If the Lord wills…”
Last week, we rejoiced. An idea long simmering was finally realized. In March, minimal doses of the COVID vaccine were delivered to Uganda. Health care workers were given priority across the country. However, a combination of fear, social media rumors, and the natural human delusion of invincibility meant that not all of the doses were used. It was then opened to the elderly. Our clinic staff was able to get both doses. Then it opened to teachers last week, which included our KEO staff. And last week we took the majority of the balance of our mission staff to get their first shot! Cases are rising across the country as a new strain from India has reached even the bush. We are so thankful to be able to get this for our staff. It was completely voluntary, and yet the vast majority was eager to go. Pastor James Folkerts and I loaded up our vehicles and took them to the closest distribution site – Tokora Hospital. The process was fairly painless. It was hilarious to see these grown men flinching at the idea of a shot, but then laughing once it was over. We are now praying that more doses will arrive in country for our staff to be fully vaccinated. Any extra doses have been recalled to Kampala where the outbreak is the worst.
On Sunday evening, the president announced new lock down measures for the next six weeks, which include limiting travel between districts (near the concept of counties), closing churches and mosques, closing schools and cattle markets. We had planned to go down to Kampala next week to see the doctor and have a routine ultrasound. That became an impossibility. However, we were able to rush down on Monday just to Mbale, get the scan and any last minute supplies before returning on Tuesday. It is unclear whether or not we will be able to travel to Kampala for the delivery in August if restrictions are extended, unless it is an emergency.
In the midst of the announcements, the Robbins arrived in country and made it up to Karamoja. They are presently packing up their house to fill a container, which should still be able to travel even under the restrictions. Then they’ll need to navigate getting back to the airport to leave the country!
This morning I woke with the dawn and grudgingly pulled my body out of bed, aiming to get a walk in before the house was fully awake. We heard something outside. Christopher told me it was gunshots, so I turned right around and plopped back into bed! Few shots here are aimed well, and I had no desire to get in the middle of something. Turns out, Pakot raiders, a traditional enemy of the Karimojong, had come to Akuyam to steal cows. Somehow the army had already been alerted and was waiting for them. Insecurity is rising across Karamoja as they are getting guns cheaply from across the nearby borders – South Sudan and Kenya. They say you can buy a gun for a sack of charcoal, a local commodity selling for about $5. The northern Karimojong tribes have been raiding cattle again in the last year, and the Pakot who live on the border of Kenya are emboldened again too. This was the first time in many years that raids have reached this far south. The military continues to attempt to stop them, chasing and reclaiming stolen herds, but even they must come in numbers. Raiders have no qualms about killing those who get in their way.
In all these things we wait on the Lord. We know that His timing is perfect, that He knows what we need before we do, and that He is faithful to provide. We pray for boldness in living His love and meekness in all else.