Sunday, July 1, 2012


OK.  Here's the story.  Never told it before, not even mentioned it to my husband, which I did just as I was beginning this post.

Soroti, Uganda, is not near huge Lake Victoria.  Duh!  That's well known by anyone who is geographically oriented.  It's not near the Indian Ocean. ["Duh" continues.]  It IS near a lake-ish portion of Uganda, but not a consistent area -- I was told that the lakes sometimes had water reduced significantly at certain times of the year when the heat is much higher and the rain has backed off.  So, I never anticipated seeing a pelican in that part of Uganda, period.

When I was in Soroti to help some of those who were struggling after Joseph Kony's LRA rebels had invaded areas near the town, I never saw the lakes.  I knew they were nearby, but the pastors and other "protectors" wouldn't take me on any side rides, because they didn't know if we would be attacked.

I still was always surprised when I saw pelicans floating over the town, hanging out in trees.

About the time I was getting ready to leave Soroti,  I was invited to go out eating with a couple from UK.  Allan and Anne were YWAM leaders in Uganda and had been living at the Soroti YWAM compound for many years.  I had been staying there for some weeks.  They weren't young, probably in their 60s, but were very helpful and supportive of both public and missions-oriented Ugandans and for international missions folks who showed up, which would have been me at that moment.

They had bikes to ride to the eating area, and gave me one.  We made it to a main street on our edge of town, riding on a bumpy path across a big field.  Within a few minutes we reached the Taj Mahal cafe.  [YEP!  That was the name of this very non-fancy extremely casual place.]  We had a good time, eating cheap Ugandan food -- potatoes and fish and vegs -- and yammering and talking and sharing so many things we'd had in our hearts together while helping however we could in Soroti.  [They were leaving Uganda for UK soon and retiring from their ministry.  Wonderful couple!]

Then, just as it was turning dark outside, we left.  We grabbed our bikes and went across the street.  We started heading back to YWAM, and I was last in line, moving slowly.  That's when it was discovered that Anne's bike's rear tire was flat.  The two of us stopped.  Allan was a bit ahead of us.

Then a less-than-wonderful event occurred.  While we knelt next to her bike, suddenly white, sticky stuff began landing on our heads and clothes and legs.  She wore a hat; I didn't.

Immediately, we realized we had stopped under a long lane of scruffy trees.  And what spent long stretches of time up there were dozens... if not hundreds ... of pelicans.  Believe me, the result was awful.

Allan and Anne moved her bike out of that area to work on it.  The Ugandans across the street in front of the eating and hanging-out shops were pointing at us and laughing.  Always thought it was funny when Muzungus [white folks] had done something so dumb.

I rode back to the compound, not able to see clearly, because of the dark, and not having anyone I could follow, since A. and A. weren't leading me. I tried to keep my nose higher and higher so I couldn't smell myself.

When I reached my room, I tore off my clothes.  I went to a wash room and scrubbed myself the best I could, but it sure wasn't anything I could have done here.  In Omaha, at my house, I would have lived in a hot shower for hours!!!  And spread "Moonlight Path" all over my body, layers deep.

But now, remembering this event I LAUGH! ... Because the Ugandans laughed.  We made people happy during a disastrous stretch of time.  It was worth it.

It wasn't bullets or grenades hitting us in a war zone.  It was only bird poop -- so could have been much worse. 

The Godly part:  we were missionaries and doing good jobs, but other bits of reality sometimes blended into our lives, bringing seriosity --- and humor. 
The photos were taken by freebe sections online, so, even though not mine, they are not stolen.  [Even if I'd had a camera in my hand when this event took place, I can't imagine that I would have risked taking pictures and getting dirtier.  That would definitely be a "not me" activity.]

Tell Me a Story


Laurie Collett said...

What an adventure! Seems to me that God has a sense of humor! Thanks for sharing this great story!
God bless,

S. Etole said...

I couldn't help but think of the song, "Don't Stand Under The Apple Tree," as I was reading this! Think the Andrew Sisters sang it.

Now I know why you became a "hat person."

Anonymous said...

Made the ending of my day a joyful one! What a funny story. It gave me a great word picture of the happening.


elizabeth said...

LOL! Thanks for the smiles and the sweet comment you left on my photo and verse too!

Beth said...

Here I was expecting a beautiful, sereal moment expecting to be awed and instead I get the practical and a bit dirty side of nature---am smiling. I'm sure your lack of temper tantrum helped witness to those laughing Ugandans.:>) I don't like the feel of hats on my head (my fibromyalgia is esp. tender there), but that incident would have made me a hat wearer for sure!

Floyd said...

It's much easier to laugh about things like that down the road perspective I think!

It really is the small things that mix the serious nature with real life humor to remind us of how precious each moment is.

Thank you for your service...

A Joyful Noise said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story on "Tell Me a True Story." Laughing now is ok even if it was not funny at the moment. You did give those watching you - a great time laughting at you (not with you.)
Amazing story!

kelli said...

Funny how some things strike you as comical -- no matter what culture you live in.

Great story. You seem like you've lived a lot of good ones . . . :)

joy said...

What afunny and inspirational story. Yes, we all need a good laughter once in a while or most of the time no matter where we are or what we are doing. Dropping by from " Tell me a story"

Jennifer @ said...

You have such a good perspective, finding the bit of joy in that moment. I think we'd do well to do this more often in life. There are silver linings all over the place, little cracks for the Light to shine through.

Thank you for the way you inspire.