Monday, September 28, 2009
In Memoriam...Theresa Nandi Busulwa 1998-2009
The Death of a child in Uganda...
A phone call at 2:00 A.M brought stark African reality..."My beautiful, healthy daughter is dead..." We will never forget the pain and anguish in our friend Ssimbwa’s voice. His 11 year old daughter, “Teddy” had been in the hospital for three days being treated for an asthma attack. That day she had been improving; only being put on the nebulizer every six hours...now she was gone. It was a great sorrow, not managed by a few words or kind acts. What could we do?..."some few things...100 lbs of maize flour, beans, rice, sugar"- things to feed the gathering friends and family... visit the family...hug...shake hands... express sorrow and watch the surge of church members, family and friends swell ...everyone understanding (25% of African children die before the age of five). As we left, those who had gathered began to sing hymns and talk in hushed tones. They stayed all night with the family.
Ssimbwa called early and said..."Sister, will you bring some small wreath to put on my little girl’s grave?". When we arrived we had bottled water for about 500 people, and Eddie in the truck...he could speak to the two Grandmothers with us during the two hour ride to the village.
Rains have come to Uganda...it is so green and gardens are growing at an incredible rate...The drive to his village was one of the most beautiful areas in Uganda. In the family compound there were about 200 chairs set up under shade; not nearly enough for those who would to come. Teddy was taken into the house by her father and other family members. The simple wooden coffin was placed on the floor and surrounded by sitting mats. The women sat and cried and wailed their grief. Expressing sorrow here is done openly and without restraint.
Following the service the congregation moved, singing, to the small grave among the ancestors who went before her. Also there, were the graves of the family's two other children who preceded her.
...this is life and passing in Africa.