Saturday, August 4, 2012

Zipporah

Zipporah and her oldest son last summer 2011
As many of you know our initial involvement with New Hope Uganda was through child sponsorship. The first child we sponsored was named Nagayi Zipporah and although she had left New Hope over three and a half years ago we have managed to find her and maintain contact with her each time we have visited.  She married a Muslim man and she and her two children were living in the town of Wobulenzi about 35 km from where we're located.  Yesterday morning we learned that her husband had died suddenly in an accident the night before.

We were able to arrange transport and travelled with some family parents and other relatives to the burial.  The burial took place at the home of the mother of Zipporah's husband which was some distance off the main road and the town of Wobulenzi.  As is common, a huge crowd from the surrounding area was in attendance.  We estimated that there were approximately 400 people there.  A canopy had been set up and when we arrived a Muslim imam was speaking to a large group of people. 

We were met by Zipporah's half brother, who had travelled from Kampala and led over to see her.  She was sitting on the ground surrounded by a large group of women and was extremely distraught.  She clung to each one of us crying out especially for her children who are now without a father.  We spent the next two hours sitting on the edge of the crowd.  At 4:00 there was the call to prayer and the imam led the group in the afternoon prayers.  Following that the actual burial of the body took place.  At a Muslim burial here women are not allowed to witness the burial.  Zipporah was led away at this point and collapsed on the ground. 

We waited around as the crowd dispersed and she eventually made her way back to us and we were able to pray with her.  We learned that her oldest son is suffering from kidney issues and is quite ill.  His face, stomach and legs were very swollen and he appeared very lethargic.   She is in an extremely vulnerable position faced with a sick child and an uncertain future.  In the past it would have been quite common for Zipporah to be married to a brother of her husband but this practise has been discouraged as a result of the AIDS epidemic.

There is much that remains unclear and as we wait to see how this situation develops we desire your prayers that we will be given wisdom to discern how our role in her life should continue. There are no easy answers. We are thankful that her half brother is a very fine young man who is concerned for her welfare.  Ultimately we are praying that her trust will be in the God who "upholds the widow and the fatherless" (Psalm 146:9)

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