My Daughter Is In Africa by Robert Socha
I write to you today from the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
Three years ago, my oldest daughter came to me and said, “Dad, I feel called to missions, I think Africa.” I replied, “That is very romantic. So let us put that in the idea box, put it on the shelf, and if the desire is still there in a year or so, we will revisit it.”
Last year she came back to me and said something to the effect of, “Dad, I still feel called to go, especially to Africa. Where should I go?” I replied, “If you go to Africa, there is one man I would trust you with, and that is Pastor Paul Gidudu, in Uganda.”
We booked the trip for last summer, but the country’s President responded to the Covid epidemic by closing all the borders for a period of time that included our trip. So we took the opportunity to contribute the cost of the airfare to the ministry we were coming to support because the need for food here in Uganda during the lockdowns has been great.
This year we endeavored to come and secured our flights as before. But, again, the President of Uganda initiated a 42-day lockdown to help curb the spread of Covid. We thought this would once again delay our trip, but it turns out that the lockdown does not have the same effect on tourists as it does on the local populations, although the 7:30 PM curfew affects everyone. To make a long story short, one 33 hour journey got us from our home in Michigan to our temporary home in Uganda.
I chose to write about this today because there are a few things that strike me as odd and wonderful when I think about the journey. First, even though there were rules in effect that could have canceled our desire to come, we trusted the Lord would make the way where there seemed to be no way. Second, the rules put into effect in dealing with this worldwide catastrophe have become increasingly bizarre and arbitrary. Third, there are many things about the Ugandan culture that I find warm and fascinating.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, the warm welcome given to us was a wonderful respite after two eight-hour flights and a 45-minute hop to our destination. Our hosts smiled and laughed and made our transition into this foreign land a tremendous blessing.
The people here are joyful, always smiling and finding a reason to laugh. During very trying circumstances, very high unemployment, and much uncertainty for the future, the Ugandan people smile and wave.
In the rural district we call home for the next ten days; there is a simple greeting that lifts the countenance of every hearer and brings a smile to every face and a wave of acknowledgment.
The greeting, transliterated, is mulambe; which means peace.
I find it magnificent that this culture initiates and closes its greetings and conversations with peace. Even more marvelous is that most of the people I have offered the greeting to and have responded in kind are in a desperate situation. Yet the word lifts their countenance and brings a release of joy.
My daughter and I have walked through deeply impoverished communities and ministered to orphans and widows. We have prayed with these fine people who find themselves in terrible circumstances. I could fill pages with stories of loss and deprivation, but that is not my goal here. My goal here is for us to understand that even amid meager means and depravity, these wonderful people have taught me to find a reason to laugh, to love unconditionally, and to greet one another with a blessing of peace.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.