Tuesday, April 6, 2010


For most Ugandans a taxi park is a normal part of life, but Westerners rarely have this “wonderful” experience; I hadn’t done it for several years. I arrived at the park in the blazing afternoon heat after spending three hours in transit, beginning with a walk, then a very uncomfortable ride on the back of a bicycle, followed by a 10-mile hot and dusty motorbike ride. Finally, I was ensconced in a matatu and finished my intense jaunt to Kampala.
Not only emotionally and physically exhausted from ministry in a refugee portion of Uganda, unbeknownst to me, I was in the beginning phase of malaria. I plowed through the crowd, juggling around my heavy duffle and my bulky backpack. I knew when I reached the street I could find a ride to a hotel. However, I felt totally overwhelmed, not sure I could make it.

At that very moment, a young teen stepped up and asked if I wanted a “special hire”(a non-public taxi) and I said I did. He said “We'll find and I'll carry.” He reached for my bag. I told him “I don't have any ‘small’.” (I had no money for a tip.) In spite of this, he took my bag and said he didn't want money. I was absolutely stunned and couldn’t believe him. Even though he was slightly built and my duffle was very heavy, I was nearly certain that when we reached the park’s exit, an accomplice would grab the bag from him and make a run for it; consequently, as hampered as I was by the crowd and the heavy back pack, I rushed along, carefully keeping him in view. Amazingly, he was faithful. When we reached the street, he said he would find a special hire and asked me how much I would pay. I said 7,000// [Uganda shillings]. He said, "You can get for 5,000//.” Another miracle – even if he could have hired a taxi for 5,000//, it would have been normal that he tell me it was 7,000// and pocket the difference. Then he asked, “Do you know why I am helping you? My Pastor said we should bless our elders and God would bless us.” I nearly cried on the spot. I felt God’s hands encompass me with His gentle and very timely care.

Joseph found a car, arranged the fee, and escorted me to the hotel. At the reception desk, bending to retrieve my passport from my backpack, I started to faint. Seated in the lounge, resting, My Angel sat near me, watching with great concern. A little later, able to change larger bills into some smaller denominations, I paid the driver. Then I gave Joseph 2,000// (four times more than what I would have paid at the park), which he tried to decline. I said, “You said God would bless you for helping. He is.”

I had many adventures in Uganda, some very difficult and sad and some very funny. But among the most wonderful was this amazing encounter with Joseph, my Taxi Park Angel.

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Janet Oberholtzer said...

Hi - thanks for visiting my blog, nice to 'meet' you.

What a wonderful encounter in Uganda - great reminder that the world is filled with good people.

Glynn said...

Beautiful story of gentle grace. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Your taxi park angel was very gentle and kind. Thanks for sharing this great story, Caryjo.

Unknown said...

That was gentleness in action...thanks for sharing such an inspiring story!


Jeanne Frances Klaver said...

When these things happen to me, cynics say I was deluded. I know you, my friend. Thank you for this post...it's always nice to connect with like-minded people.

Helen said...

Joseph was truly a God send. I hope he was blessed many times over.

Louise Gallagher said...

What a beautiful and gentle story. Thank you for sharing your Taxi Park angel -- thank you for sharing your grace.


Beth said...

Such a wonderful story. It's the kindness and respect from ones like Joseph that keeps me teaching.

Jeff Jordan said...

We could all learn a lot from Joseph...great story.

Rich Dixon said...

What a cool story. And yet, folks say that Jesus never shows up when you need Him.

He does, but since He doesn't appear as we expect we miss it.

Thanks for not missing Him.

S. Etole said...

A blessing for a blessing ... that you are as well as your creative gifts!

JoAnne Bennett said...

beautifully written, great "angel" story. I've never been out of the country; thanks for sharing Cary Jo your first-hand experiences outside our little world.