Friday, November 25, 2011

As good as a newly released DVD

I usually go to Florence's to leave my cell phone, and then we walk together to the prison.  

On this day, I went to the drugstore before going to Florence’s.  I asked the man at the counter what the medicine that beautiful lady had showed me was for.  He said, “Ulcers.”  I asked him about the dosage the nurse had written down, and asked him how much that amount would be.  It was the American equivalent of 71 cents, so I didn’t even think twice about purchasing those meds.

At Florence’s, I met up with two ladies from America who were here with a team from Tennessee.  They were going to walk with us to the prison today, but first we had an errand to run.

There are now 10 babies in prison with their mommas, and they are allowed to be there because they are 18 months or younger.  In fact, one child had been born on Sunday, and we visited the mother on Tuesday in her cell/room.  (The baby was beautiful, by the way!)

Florence had heard from one of the mothers that they needed soap.  There are no diapers, of course, and during teaching, I have watched as a baby urinates on the towel that his mother holds in her lap.  

All mothers walk around with towels to “catch” things.  Anyway, their wash load is a whole lot larger than the other women’s. 

Florence wanted to buy the baby-mommas some soap, but I told her I didn’t feel right doing that and leaving the other ladies out.  So we walked to the market and inquired about prices on large boxes of soap.  We finally found one at a decent price (or so we thought), so we handed the money over. 

Apparently, we had misunderstood, and we owed more.  What a blessing to have those two visitors with us who chipped in money from their church to finish the purchase of soap.

We carried the soap box through town, taking turns until we got to the prison, about a mile a way. 

We arrived at 2, and again, the ladies had not eaten.  But this time, there apparently was food coming.  Eight women walked over to the men’s side to pick the food, and then they came back and went and fetched water at the well.  

M**** (the lead prisoner) brought benches out for us to sit on under the tree, and we sat and listened to the ladies talk.  Florence jumped in their conversations and heard more of their incarceration stories:

*A husband brought a second wife into the home that this first wife had built, and so she burned her house down so they couldn’t live there.  The husband brought her in.

*A six-year old boy died of malaria, and the father blamed the mother and brought her to prison  (have I told you before that they believe that every death was caused by some person, either directly or indirectly by a curse?)

*One woman was pregnant with twins.  She tried to abort them, but only killed one.  She was put in prison, and then she delivered the second one while locked up.  He is 17 months old and he still can’t walk, and he has trouble breathing.

*Mob justice killed a man, and one woman was accused of arranging the mob.  She’s waiting for a date in high court, but people have been known to wait 5 years

*One lady was brought in for cutting / slashing the co-wife with a panga.

{Obviously, we can see, that God intended man to have one wife for a good, many reasons!}

Sitting under the tree was a nice time just to hang out and visit, even though their stories aren't so nice.

*Granted, a few were brought in for murder or some other crimes I won't name here, and I'm not naive enough to think all these women are innocent, but I do believe some are.

The food came.  They ate quickly.  We went inside for singing and Bible study.

They also sang a song for the two visiting ladies from America.  The chorus was, “Welcome to Prison,” and it cracked me up.  I asked them, when they were finished, how come I didn’t get such a song when I came, and they thought that was hilarious.

I prayed in Lugbara and then started the day’s lesson.  Immediately, a lady stopped and commented that she didn’t understand Lugbara, and she only spoke Alur (she hadn’t come in our study before).  So we arranged for a girl in the front to translate for her.

I would speak, and as Florence started her Lugbara translation, the other helper would start her Alur translation for the lady.  I’m just glad the lady cared enough to speak up, because I found out later there were over 8 Alur speakers in there, and none of them said anything.

I used Becky Miller’s illustrated book Creation today.  You would have thought I was showing a newly released DVD.  They were glued to the book.  They loved the illustrations.  God, angels, Adam, and Eve are all drawn as Africans.  It is really beautifully done!

Receiving the books last April!

At the end, I told them I had some questions for them, but Florence mis-translated me, and asked them if they had quesitons.  Boy did they:

*Were they really naked?
*What was the Tree of Life for?
*What did Adam eat?  We were told that food dropped from heaven, right in front of him, like chickens, and pigs, etc.
*We have heard that the fruit Eve ate wasn’t really a fruit, but a sexual sin.  Was it?

I finally did get to my questions, and they had fun raising their hands to answer.  I told them at the end, they all got a passing grade today, and they liked that.

Next, we told them about the soap.  The bars are about a foot and a half long, and we had determined to give the baby-mommas one-half bar each and everyone else got a third of each bar.  So Florence, the two volunteers and I broke apart the bars until they were all in a pile.

Florence prayed, and then one-by-one, they came up for their soap.  Most left after that, but about 12 remained because they wanted to give us prayer requests.  Seven of them were translated through an Alur inmate.  That whole process took about 20-30 minutes.

The last one to come up was the sickly girl who said that after I prayed over her last time she has started feeling better.  Praise Jesus!  She also thanked God for me, God sending us, and for the medicine I had brought her today.

We walked outside, and there seemed to be a frenzy of clothes-washing taking place.  A few of the ladies thanked us to much and told us that next time we saw them, they would be looking so “smart” in their ”new” uniform.

The food situation isn’t much better.  They are supposed to be fed at 1pm and 5pm (just twice a day), in their rooms after they eat, and then silence from 7pm on.  The nursing mothers are not getting enough food.  The babies pull on their mom’s chests during Bible study trying to get something, but they are flat and empty.

When you think about it, pray for these women to be protected from the evil spirits that enjoy hanging around in that dark place.  These women need a chance to hear the Truth and have some peace without always being tormented.


David T. Ulrich said...

Kathryn, I love reading even the difficult parts of your updates.

The "Welcome to Prison" song sounds cool. Wish I could hear it!

Love from America,
David Ulrich

Cara said...

You two are a pretty dadburn adorable couple. :D

I also loved the "Welcome to Prison" song, and your very enlightening post. It is so good to hear the back stories of these precious ladies. Praise God for you and this wonderful ministry!

Nancy said...

Kathryn, you are such a great story teller. I feel like I was there tapping my toe to the welcome to prison song. What a blessing to see the IAM books being used to teach your ladies.

Megan said...

i want to come. bad.

Brandy said...

Love this post! Very enlightening and love the stories and hearing so much about the prison. You guys are doing such incredible work.