Mzungu Memoirs

Oh! The Things You Will Do!

When I was in high school, a book written by Dr. Seuss was published that has since become a popular gift for both high school and college graduates.  I don’t remember if I was given the book as a gift, but I do remember giving it on one or two occasions.  The book is actually quite well suited for graduates as it begins with “Congratulations!  Today is your day.”  Then it launches into a string of all the places “you” will go and things “you” will accomplish.  Probably the most famous line in the book is “And will you succeed?  Yes! You will, indeed!  (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”

When I was graduating from high school and college, I’m pretty sure Uganda was not high on the list of places I thought I would go.  But here I am.  And I’m fairly certain I never dreamed I would be doing some of things I am doing now.  But with God’s help, I am doing them.  He has an uncanny way of forcing us out of our comfort zone so he can show us what we are capable of even when (or maybe I should say, especially when) we don’t think we are capable of much.

Let me explain what I mean.

The first weekend we were here in Uganda, Caleb started running a fever on Friday evening.  The fever stuck around off and on all weekend.  Monday morning rolled around, and he was still running a fever.  So I took him to the doctor.  By myself.  In a country I hadn’t even lived in a week yet.  I had to go by myself because Robert had to go to work, and Monday mornings is one of the two days a week that Maggie, our wonderful next door neighbor, goes into the office.  Fortunately, Maggie had given me very explicit instructions.

She said I was to call Robert, the boda driver, to come pick us up and tell him to take us to “The Surgery.”  A rather daunting name, I know, but that is the actual name of the clinic.  She said we needed to be sure to get there as close to 8:00 as we could because if we waited until 9:00 we would be there all morning.   So, I got up, got Caleb up and called Robert, and then we waited for what felt like an eternity but I think was closer to 15 minutes.  Robert came, my Robert helped us climb on the boda and get situated, and we were off.  Mind you, this was my first experience on a boda, and we were on the back of this thing with a driver I had just met going all the way across town.

We got to The Surgery, went up to the reception desk and I told them that we had just moved to town, that Caleb was a new patient, and that we needed to see the doctor, just as Maggie had told me to do.  And then we sat down and waited.   God must have known that He had thrown me way out of my comfort zone and that I could really use a familiar face because while we were waiting, a gal that we had met briefly at the airport when we arrived came in and sat down next to us.  We recognized each other and starting talking.  I don’t remember the gal’s name and I will probably never see her again, but I am so glad God put her in my life when he did.

We got to see a mzungu doctor, British I think.  He was very nice and had a great manner with Caleb.  He said that Caleb had a cold virus that he probably caught on the plane.  He also said that Caleb had an ear infection, which is what I figured was the problem.  He gave us some Amoxil (yellow instead of the pink stuff you get in the States) and a nasal spray decongestant and sent us on our way.

Then we were back on the boda, across town, and home by midmorning.

Now, if you had asked me before we left the States if I thought I could do all that within the first week of our arrival here, I probably would have looked you in the eyes and said “Are you nuts?!”  But I was able to handle it because God was holding me together through it all.  Just like He is now while Robert is gone to Burundi.

I have to admit that I was anticipating Robert’s departure for this particular project trip with a healthy amount of anxiety.  We have only been in this country for about a month, and I’m still learning my way around.  Think of the stress and anxiety you have moving to a new town and multiply it by ten.  But God is holding me together and giving me a peace that only He can provide.  Amazingly, I am calmer staying “home” here in Uganda than I ever was staying “home” in the States.  I don’t know if it because I have such a wonderful neighbor who is familiar with what eMi wives go through or what, but I sure am glad God put her in my life when he did.

You know, I’m probably a long way from “graduating” from this life, but God has already given me a book that is especially suited for me.  And will I succeed?  Yes!  I will, indeed!  100 percent guaranteed.  (If God has anything to do with it.)

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

posted by Robert in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

One Response to “Oh! The Things You Will Do!”

  1. Robert Donahue says:

    I never dreamed my version of the Dr. Seuss book would include preaching to hundreds in a church in the bush of Burundi.