Would you pray for our village. 3 days ago a 35 year old man named Agrippa (Shabbatie his African name) died. He had TB for sure, probably AIDS as well. He had gone to the Dr at some point, but since there was no immediate cure offered, he hoped the witch doctor could help him. So his final wish was for people to scrounge up $100 to get to a witch doctor. That is where he died. Of course the African Dr told him someone had bewitched him – put some bad medicine outside his door which he stepped over, causing him to come down with the fatal illness. So the remedy is not only to get cured, but to find the one bewitching him. For some reason, they usually divine that it is a near relative – an uncle or even a parent!

But unfortunately, he died there at the witch doctor’s little hut. He left a wife and six children.

We went the next day and hoped to comfort the widow – but she was in a small hut with the old ladies, a blanket over her head as custom dictates, for the whole day. As common as death is in these places, it is a very depressing affair. What will happen to the children and the wife – when it is so hard to survive at the best of situations, this is very depressing indeed.

Then, as the funeral was just winding down, a fight broke out in a “shabine” – a little bar – in the next village. 2 young guys from Singanga were fighting one guy from Shandunda, the lights were turned off, and by the time they came on, the Shandunda guy – Abram – lay with his brains seeping out his nose and ears. Who did it? Was it Austin or Mike from Singanga? Or as some suggest – was it Abram’s own parents – who thought they were beating the other guys with a stick, but instead they killed their own son? No one knows. So the police come for Austin (he is one of our gardening families) to take him into custody until trial. He freaks out and runs for it! We were in the village, talking to some friends when we see him running by, and a squad of police after him. He runs over to our property and jumps in the river! Will he drown? Will the crocks find him? Will he ever be found? We finally left with the whole village depressed because they figured he was a gonner. Fortunately, he was hiding in the reeds on one of our islands. So the next day the headman talked him into turning himself into the police.

Well, as if that were not enough, that same night the man was murdered in the bar, another resident of the village was murdered at his work! He was a night guard at a big river lodge, and some thieves broke in and killed him. So in just a few days three deaths, and two young men locked in jail for who knows how long!

Funerals here are traumatic events – often times there can be fights and accusations. If a person dies of AIDS the family may fight with the family of the spouse for killing her or him. If a person is suspected of bewitching there are harsh words at least. It all comes out at the funeral.

Would you join us to pray for the village?

I can share at least one bright story from the sadness – one of our friends who operates a shabine has decided to quit selling beer! Zeta is a widow with 3 kids, and has no other income than this. But out of respect for what we have been telling her, and the sadness of what just happened, she asked us if we would help her start another business. We did. She will be selling sweet potatoes and dried fish. Praise God.


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