The dust is a problem in Africa. For me, I figure, I’m going to get dirty when I am there and I mostly ignore it. When I shower the water runs brown into the drain as all the dirt is released from my hair and skin. It’s a significant amount of dirt that accumulates every day making a shower the greatest pleasure and indulgence during a long visit in Uganda. That’s partly why I love staying at Herb and Ellen’s guest house, they don’t do splash baths, they understand the importance an American places on a hot shower! Herb even ran the generator so we could have a hot shower. Tender mercies.
I discovered why people who walk along the dirt roads will stop and turn their back to a passing vehicle. The dust that is stirred up from the road by a passing motorcar can choke a person! We learned it first hand while visiting the land we “supposedly” bought. I could taste it between my teeth, it gathered into the corners of my eyes and my hair was gritty to the touch. One thing I adore so much about the Ugandan people is that despite all this dirt, they insist on looking their very best whenever they go out, wearing perfectly shined leather shoes, immaculate white blouses, long flowing skirts and pretty shoes. In all that dirt it is my inclination to wear clothes I don’t mind getting dirty. I respect the effort they put into looking good all the time.
While planning for my recent trip I knew I wanted to give the mama’s who care for the children a pedicure. I stocked a bag of pedicure supplies and hoped for a moment in time when I could pull it out and surprise them all. I found it on Saturday. After we had the birthday cakes to celebrate birthdays that had passed there was some time when we could all just relax and hang out together. T his was my last day with everyone and I wanted it to be full of happy memories. I wore the Rwandese dress that Rebecca had given to me in June. When she saw me arrive she literally performed a happy dance! The dress has an underlayer skirt which is bunched and gathered at my hips to make me look like I have big hips! That’s so un-American…and hot.
I asked Rebecca to sit on the ledge of her home, I asked for a basin of water, and I removed her sandal
s and put her feet in the water. I took a brush and began to scrub her feet. The water turned brown quickly. I rubbed them, washed them, and smoothed them to a soft sheen. I softened them with lotions and painted her toes pink. While I began this work, Phiona and Irene sat other mama’s down for the same treatment. George took pictures. It wasn’t long before all of the children were hovering over us to watch.
I learned later that they all teased Pastor James because he had disapproved of painted nails, but since I had given such kind treatment he would modernize his thinking and allow the women to color their nails! I am such a renegade.
Neighbors who had gathered whispered among themselves, “this lady has a lot of love.”
We can say “I love you”, but showing it makes a deeper impression. Rebecca and I are kindred spirits. She says to me, “I love you too much”, meaning so much but I will never correct her because it is such a treasure to me to be loved too much. The love of God flows through us both with similar intensities wrapping a bow around us, binding us together. We feel it. I am so thankful to know this beautiful woman.