Monday, October 8, 2012


Cary pinched her arm and twitched.  “Yep, proves it.  I’m not dreaming.”

A young Luo tribesman in Uganda looked at her quizzically.  “Madam, I see you are not asleep.  Why did you try to hurt yourself?”

Cary laughed.  “I need to do that every once in a while here in Africa.  I’m still so amazed that God has allowed me to be in this wonderful place and meet so many lovely people.”  She tapped his arm.  “And you, Simon, are one.”

“But dreaming about Africa instead of being here when you are?  Why?”  He stopped and pointed at the shore.  “Oh, Madam!  See the elephant across in that tall grass — near those trees?

That does not happen very often on these rides.  God must be giving you a gift.”

Cary grabbed her camera and took a photos.  All she could think of while she kept looking around was how blessed she felt.  On a tourism boat to the Murchison Falls on the Nile River with a short-term team from the orphanage where she worked,              

looking at the elephant, seeing wonderful eagles,
crocodiles all over the river banks with birds walking around next to them, hippos in and out of the water,
an isolated wild ox with a beautiful small white bird, the ox's friend to chomp at the bugs that would irritate his old and tired body.  
And Cary’s thoughts went on and on and on, with great excitement and joy.

Simon touched her.  “Madam, I must ask you again.  Why did you pinch your arm?”

“If we can talk and look around at the same time, I’ll tell you.  Is that OK?  You can interrupt me any time you see something I might miss.”

“Good.  I want to know.”

“When I was young, I read many, many books about many, many places in the world.  I loved thinking about going places and meeting people and seeing things that are beautiful or exciting.  But I was raised in a poor family, and we looked pretty scruffy much of the time.”

Simon stopped her.  “What is ‘scruffy’?”

Cary chuckled.  “Sorry.  It means not very clean and not dressed very nice.”

“But you are from AmericaEveryone in America has everything they could ever want.  They do not have to work.  They can eat anything they want, always.  And ... ”

Cary shook her head, and Simon stopped.  “Not true," she said.  "We do have more materials than most people in the world, I’ll admit.  But most Americans also work hard on their jobs and around their house and yard.”

Simon had a puzzled look on his face and shrugged his shoulders a little bit.  He said, “Well, that is not what I have ever heard, but if you say it, it must be true.”

“I hope the day will come when you can know for sure.  In my case, believe me, I was poor compared to many others.  And I truly wanted to see the places I had seen in the books."

"So, Madam, you are here now.  How? When?”

 "I was forty years old before I could go almost anywhere, even near my home.  I was too busy with my jobs, and my kids, and didn’t have enough money to allow the trips.  Then I married my dear husband and everything changed.  And five years ago, we were surprised, because the Lord dropped Uganda into our lives suddenly.  We had never thought we would be coming to Africa, but we were invited and asked to help other missionaries."

"Madam, did something special happen when you came?”

 Cary winked at Simon.  “Do you know that GOD knows more than I do?  What I have learned is that He has always needed to plant certain people in my path, so we could encourage or help each other.  That wouldn't happen until exactly the right time.  Obviously it has, because I have now met you, my first Luo friend."

Simon smiled.

As the boat passed close to the bottom of the falls that were about 140 feet high and the river roaring through the narrow gap and water spraying all around, it was too loud to talk.  Cary just let the water drench her and loved every second of it.

When the boat turned around to head back up to the dock, with an hour left for the tour, she and Simon just talked a bit, but mostly looked at the scenery and he pointed out different animals.  “I wish we had giraffes  here, but you'll see them

tomorrow during your drive through our park.  An armed guard will go with all of you on the lorry because there have been reports that the Kony rebels are not far away.  You will see places where resort hotels used to be, but the buildings were destroyed during our civil war. 
You might even be able to walk through the ruins.” He paused.  “But be careful.  Sometimes snakes will be laying out on the bricks.”

Cary cringed.  “Don’t worry, Simon.  I’ll be more careful than anyone has ever been in history.  I’m terrified of snakes. Period.” 

Simon nodded, as he, like many Ugandans, understood that feeling.  “However, Madam, you will see many other animals ... monkeys or baboons,

antelopes, wild boars, wart hogs.  
I am certain you will have a very good time.”

“I’m very sure I will, too.  What’s funny is that I could go see almost all of these animals at the zoo in the town where I live, but coming here, ten thousand miles away from home, and seeing the animals where they live and watching them move around together and — like the crocodiles and hippos and birds all being in one place at one time and none of them fighting or trying to kill each other — that’s a whole different picture than I would have expected.  And, seeing the land, and being on the Nile River with friends and with a guide like you... I couldn’t ask for anything nicer.”

Cary gave Simon another gentle squeeze on his arm to say “thank you” and then said, “Now I just have to prove to myself one more time that I’m not dreaming...” and she gave her own arm a quick pinch and twitched...

And they both laughed....

This is a portion of a Grandma Cary story about this Murchison Falls National Park trip in Uganda.  If confusion hits you re: those last photos... they truly were taken the following day during our truck drive through the other portion of the Park.  And the armed guard was with us with an AK-47, always on alert.  The trip was a treat!  The cost for me for the whole safari?  $15.00.  Not a bad deal, right?  Here's how I looked when we reach back at the orphanage about 100 miles later on dusty roads. I had 3 showers before the layers of dirt were removed.  What a hoot!

Tell Me a Story


a joyful noise said...

What a lovely guide and a new friend to share thoughts about africa and America. Thank you for sharing at "Tell Me a True Story."

Floyd said...

I recognize that character! Good for you to be able to realize a dream that God placed in your heart.

You gotta quit pinching yourself like that!

Linda said...

What a wonderful adventure. I love it! The pictures are amazing. It must have been like a dream come true.

Jennifer @ said...

What a beautiful story. Your adventures amaze me. And those photos! I can't even imagine seeing all that.