Mzungu Memoirs

Our Little Missionary

It was suggested to me when I was complaining about one of our rainy Ugandan days that I have Caleb write a blog entry.  This isn’t that blog, but I thought I would take a moment to share about the youngest member of the Donahue missionary team and give you a glimpse into his world here in Uganda as seen through his eyes.  His grandmother gave him a camera for Christmas (thankfully, a seemingly indestructible thing) that has allowed Caleb to capture his own images of his life here in Uganda.  I have selected a few out of the hundreds that he has taken to share with you.

Caleb likes to take pictures of people.  Mostly they are pictures of people directly involved in his life, but some are of activities he has witnessed by sitting out our gate and watching the world go by.  He had taken many pictures of Robert and me, but I don’t need to share those here.  He had also taken several of Grandma Maggie, our neighbor and adopted grandmother, but unfortunately I could not find one that is not blurry.  He did take a very nice picture of Rachel and Miriam, the daughters of Maggie’s housemate, Florence.  Rachel and Miriam live with Maggie and Florence and tolerate Caleb probably about as much as you would an annoying kid cousin.  They play with him some, but mostly I think they just let him play on their computers.

He has, however, managed to very much win the hearts of our guards.  Jackson, who was the day guard during the weekend when we first arrived but recently has been serving as the night guard, really took a shine to Caleb.  He would often come over to see if Caleb would like to go with him to walk the dogs or run errands with him.  I was very sad when he got moved to nights, both because I enjoyed having him around but also I knew Caleb really enjoyed “playing” with him.  Then Samuel, who had been working nights, moved to days and the playing really began.  Samuel loves to throw the football with Caleb and will even make moves to tackle him, in play of course.  I think Samuel is just a big kid at heart, probably the most kid-like of our guards.

Caleb has also taken pictures of our house help, although not as many as they are not around quite as much as the guards.  They are busy working pretty much the entire time they are here and don’t really have the time to play with Caleb, although they do enjoy carrying on conversations with him.  Caleb hasn’t been able to get a picture of Stella, but I understand that she doesn’t particularly like having her picture taken.  But he got a really good picture of Monica, capturing her impish smile quite well.

Now, I know dogs and cats aren’t really people, but the ones that run our compound are very important to Caleb.  Siraf, the puppy, has become Caleb’s playmate in the absence of neighbor children to play with.  They seem to wear each other out quite well, although sometimes I think is an attitude of mutual tolerance rather than brotherhood.  Sophie, the cat, isn’t so much a playmate as she has become a fixture around our house.  I made the mistake of letting her lick a tuna can and now I can’t get rid of her.  She is actually Maggie’s cat, but she seems to prefer our couch.  She tolerates Caleb, and he, in turn, is learning the proper way to “respect” pets, something we have been struggling with recently.

One of Caleb’s favorite pastimes is sitting at our front gate watching the world go by, usually waiting for Daddy to get home from work.  On one particular occasion when he was sitting at the gate, the utility worker who had just trimmed our tree in preparation for a new utility line came by and started visiting with Caleb.  They talked for probably an hour.  Caleb told him all about our trip from the States, American football, and I have no idea what all else.  The guy was so impressed with him that he bought Caleb some ice cream from the neighborhood ice cream man, a guy that rides around on a bike selling ice cream from a cooler strapped to the back of it.  I didn’t realize it, but Caleb watched the utility guys the next day as they were actually installing the line.  We even saw the utility guy that had bought Caleb the ice cream later when he was working on a pole along a route that we take to get to Robert’s office.  As mzungus, we have a tendency to stand out as we walk down the road.

Even though many of Caleb’s photographs are of people, most of them are of things.  I guess inanimate objects are easier for a budding photographer to capture.  They don’t move around as much.  A couple of his prized possessions here in Uganda are his chair that sits on the veranda and our new boda-boda.  The chair is of particular value because it has a smiley face on the back of it and what little boy wouldn’t love a chair with a smiley face and because it is blue.  The fact that it is blue is of particular interest because we had sent Ali, our weekend day guard, down to get some plastic chairs for us without specifying the colors, and he brought back a large red one (my favorite color), a large green one (Robert’s favorite color) and a small blue one (Caleb’s favorite color).  The guys were very tickled by this coincidence.  And the boda-boda is prized because, well, it’s a motorcycle and what little boy wouldn’t love to have a motorcycle as his main mode of transportation.

There is still a lot to learn and experience here in Uganda and probably a lot more pictures will be taken (I hope I have enough storage space on my computer), but I think Caleb is proving to be a wonderful little missionary.  Sometimes, I think he’s doing better than us big ones.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” – Isaiah 11:6

posted by Robert in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

One Response to “Our Little Missionary”

  1. Elizabeth Swanson says:

    Dearest Heather,
    This is such a sweet entry. Thank you for sharing your life with us. The Yahweh Sisterhood is praying for you, my friend. We miss you and know without a doubt that the Lord is guiding your work there.