Yesterday our family group celebrated the graduation of Sarah from nursing school. Sarah lived at New Hope several years ago and is fondly remembered by many staff and children here. She has overcome many challenges to reach where she is at and so we gathered to give thanks for God's work in her life.
Preparations for the event began early in the morning. David helped put up tents which will feature later in the account, Christina helped with the decorations and I got the unenviable job of shedding cabbage. Aunt Lucy, our family mother, cooked matoke and chicken in giant pots over an open fire. At 11:00 we all rushed off to bathe and get ready for the event.
By 12:00 we had gathered and after a few opening remarks we began feasting on the meal prepared by David family. Pictured here is the rice, cabbage, matoke (steamed banana) covered in g-nut sauce (which is perhaps our favourite Ugandan food), and chicken in 'soup.' When we first arrived we found it challenging to eat this much food at one sitting but now we all polish it off in record time.
Then it was time for the musical entertainment. Just as the songs began, the heavens opened and rain began to pour down. The wind picked up, the tents began to sway and everyone rushed to take cover. In the midst of all the turmoil one of our staff members collapsed and David rushed off to find a nurse. He managed to track her down, drive a car to the entrance of the tent, carry the patient to the car and then drive her off to the clinic to be admitted. (She is now recovering at home).
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the way Ugandans take such interruptions to planned events in their stride. Everyone just hunkers down and waits it out. Eventually the rain slowed down and proceedings resumed. Several people made speeches and Sarah shared some of her own story. My favourite part of her speech was her description of her brother teaching her to write her name in the dirt before she started school. It was also moving to hear from Sarah's mother who was so thankful for the people who had cared for her children when her husband died. As Sarah's mom raised her hands and broke into song I thought of words from Psalm 126.
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter; and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
A day filled with the unexpected but finished with a 'shout of joy.'