About 2 weeks ago, I blogged an M-and- Ms event about a teacher in Uganda and how Dave dropped M&Ms into his life and filled him with chocolate and JOY!!!
You see, back then, the airport was a lot less modern or fancy than it was when we arrived 3 years later, in '94. In '91, we could still see bullet holes on the walls from the civil war stretch. And the customs clerks, whether we were arriving or leaving, were nice, usually, but rarely spoke OUR English. And were picky sometimes, and thoroughly not-so other times.
When we arrived at the airport, ready to leave early that morning, I was put on one customs line and Dave on another. When my small suitcase was opened, and my Bible was on the top, the clerk looked at me, looked at my Bible, then looked at me with a serious expression. I was asked 3 different ways, pausing in between. “Your Bible?” “Christian?” “Born Again?” I always answered "yes", of course, but when I answered “yes” to that final one, the seriousness left his face, he smiled, zipped the case, and sent me on to the waiting area. Dave was still being questioned for some reason. At that moment, I was a bit concerned, but had no idea what was going on. It was taking too long.
What happened is that, when his carrying bag was opened, besides a couple shirts and underwear and socks, books, cassettes, and pieces of granolas [we might need to have those safe munchies on the way home], in the midst of them was one M&M candy package. The clerk pointed to it with a questionable look on his face, so Dave pulled his ½ pack out of his shirt pocket and said it was candy. Dave, to show this, popped a couple of pieces in his own mouth and smiled BIG, to show the clerk that it was nice. The clerk said, “Oh, NO! Drugs." Dave said, “No, it’s not. It’s candy.” The clerk looked at Dave very cautiously. Dave put one in the clerk’s hand and smiled very much, and nodded at him to put it in his mouth. The clerk did it very carefully. THEN his eyes widened and his face changed to smile ... a BIG smile. HE liked the M&M piece of candy.
What did he do next? He pointed to the small bag in Dave’s case, nodded at it, and indicated he wanted it. When Dave took it out and happily gave it to him, the clerk smiled, and immediately sent Dave along to the waiting area.
So, the equivalent of 50 cents, took us through the customs area. Not a bad deal.
The only thing we learned later is that if Dave had known to say “sweet” instead of “candy”, the British term would have made him through customs with nothing as difficult or dangerous. We learned LOTS of words with American/British differences later -- sometimes deadly serious and sometimes all of us, on both sides, roaring with laughter.
M&Ms are still among my favorites ... and not just because of the chocolate, but because of the history in our missionary lives.
Hope you see this as fun, too. Occurred about a week before we left.
This was one of my favorite experiences in Uganda. This was our first time at the River Nile. [Had been preaching/sharing/teaching at a Jinja church that morning, not far from this source location.] The tree is the boundary. To the left, Lake Victoria ends. To the right, the River Nile begins.
One fun part for me: on those rocks to my side, I took my shoes off and put my feet in the water.