Weekend In Lira

It was on a Monday night when I alighted from the bus having spent the weekend in Lira. Dragging my feet down the noisy Nakulabye road, I couldn’t help reminisce of the quite times I had in the past two days. The sound and sweet sleep with the song of the crickets and the occasional crowing of the cock praising their Creator was something to be cherished. The meals that reminded a city boy of what it means to eat right were not to be forgotten either. The friendly faces and warm smiles of the Lango people made me feel at home miles and miles away from my family in Kenya. I guess after the scourge of war, the little pleasures of life are embraced with an enormous grip. I recalled of Dan, the passenger seated next to me on my way to Lira. As the conversation ensued, both our hearts were glad to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kampala City. Though it was for two days only, every moment was looked forward to with a child-like eagerness. We talked at length. The conversation ranged across various issues culminating into matters of faith. He wasn’t saved neither did he decide to get saved during our travel. However, just like any other time that one decides to talk to another about Jesus Christ, a chord that vibrates into eternity is struck.

WELCOME TO LIRA

Such were the words on a large signpost that ushered me into this well planned urban area. Canopied under lush green trees, this town in Northern Uganda was beautiful and most captivating. The bus named “White Bull”, a symbol of peace pact made between two rival communities, elegantly made its way into the bus park; its home for the night. It was then that I caught sight of the reason for my visit, Emmanuel Akeny. A man that I had grown to respect as a revolutionary leader and love as a brother. Jimmy okori, a student at Makerere University was with him too. Upon alighting, brotherly hugs were exchanged and after exchanging contacts with Dan, I bade him goodbye. As we rode on bicycles to my home for the next few days, my eyes wandered across the vast clear sky and I marveled at the moon and the shining stars. My heart was led to recall of how the Psalmist called unto these heavenly bodies to praise the name of the Living God.

“Praise Him, Sun and moon,
Praise Him, all you shining stars.”
(Psalms 148:3)

Surely praise Him. Who would ever think that a rugged young man in Eldoret, Kenya, who used to get himself drunk every weekend, would be up in Northern Uganda with the sole intention of fellowship sweet? He truly is an amazing God.
The evening was spent catching up. However, due to fatigue caused by travel, we couldn’t go the long mile.
A lion’s share of Saturday was spent under the cool shade of a guava tree deeply engrossed in conversation. We virtually talked about everything; marriage, family, politics, academics etc. A lingering query was “what does God say about this?” It was a fine time of one man sharpening another just as iron sharpens iron. (Proverbs 27:17) The day was crowned by dinner at Jimmy’s. Sumptuous would be an understatement in describing the meal. It drew saliva from the deepest gorges of our hungry mouths. At that very moment, I wouldn’t have liked to be anywhere else in the world. Ok! Maybe I am exaggerating. It just goes to show how everything was.
Sunday morning found us at Dara Christian High School (DCHS). It is always a joy to share your experiences with the younger generation and inspiring them to a higher notch in life. This is especially so in their walk with the Lord. I wasn’t surprised that Emma’s sermon was titled “History Makers”. Just like the revolutionary figure that he is.
Noble characters are found in the most unusual places. I was cordially introduced to the owner and director of the school whom I found to be quite humble. He had a good command of the English language and his simple dressing won him much admiration. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. His wife approached me and greeted me in her native language; Kikuyu! The embarrassment that followed as I mumbled words in discord in an attempt to respond was evident to all. She was a jolly one. Her hearty laughter brought a leap of joy to all who heard it. My respect for her husband was gorged deeper when I learnt how he earned his daily bread. His was no insignificant job. Let’s just say that his day to day decisions greatly affect the economy of Uganda.
Jimmy and Tony (an electrical engineer graduate) joined us for lunch at Emma’s. After some good fun of men poking fun at each other, we set off to town in a parade of bicycles for some good ‘ol pork. As Emma and I rode back home, we paid a courtesy call to Pastor James Okello. Tea was served and a heart-to-heart conversation was stirred. Listening to him talk, one couldn’t help recall of Jesus’ teaching; him who has been forgiven much loves much. (Luke 7:47). He had seen the best and the worst of the world. He didn’t want any of it anymore and was sure glad that he has been redeemed. His heart cried out for the youth who walked on the quick sand of alcoholism. His moist eyes met mine and I knew he knew I had been there before. Maybe someday we would work together and help these young men find freedom in Christ.

Knowledge of departure the next day led Emma and I chatting way into the night. This rare occasion of one man opening his heart to another was something to be cherished. We then retired to our beds pondering over the happenings of the day. A peaceful night it was. However, waking up to the fact of having to say goodbye wasn’t so pleasant. This was compounded by Emma’s witty and hilarious Grandma who suggested I get myself a Lango wife. I have to admit that the respect, diligence and decency accorded by the Lango women had certainly caught my attention. The mode of greeting and presentation of food was bound to stir up the young man looking for a noble wife. Perhaps Emma’s grandma thought I was one. I bade goodbye to Emma’s sister, Mercy, knowing that her hubby-to-be is a very privileged man.
As I traveled back to Kampala, I took another journey to the green picturesque countryside of England. “When the mind is blind” was the book and William Doyle was its author. Once in awhile I took my eyes off the lives of these individuals struggling with the debilitating disease of dementia in a loved one and stared out into nature, blinking off impending tears. Through the eyes of the world, this was a tragic true love story but through the eyes of heaven this was the story genuine love between man and for God.

A camera wasn’t available to capture all the fond memories of Lira so I did what the Hebrew forefathers would have done. I came back with a memoir. I went with brown shoes, I came back with black.

I love you all.

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