October 15, 2015 (Timu, northeast Uganda):
Yesterday, as I was walking up the hill from my quiet time, I said out loud:
“I never know what the present day may bring.”
Even as I said that, I expected a more or less mundane day.
That, however, was not to be.
About mid-morning, an NGO [non-governmental organization] vehicle rolled up to our gate. Normally I harbor a smoldering disdain for NGOs and their many ‘programs’. But this time I went out to personally see what they wanted. It turned out they were looking for blind people because there is an eye surgeon in Kaabong this week. That’s all they wanted! They didn’t want to spy out our home or ‘get to know us’ for exploitative reasons. They really and truly were looking for potential patients. How refreshing! So I jumped into their truck and took them up to assess Iud’a, Gabriel, and Sabina. Apparently they all three have cataracts that are very operable!
But just as we parked the truck in front of Lotengan’s shop, the Karimojong man I was with exclaimed that someone’s hut was on fire. Sure enough, Locham Mateo’s house was burning, as well as a bunch of maize tied up outside. We ran, grabbed some leafy branches, and tried in vain to beat out the fire. Children around kept saying someone was inside the hut. We called out, but no one answered. But they kept insisting. I didn’t want to literally risk my skin until I knew for sure someone was indeed inside. Finally, a man started answering our calls. I yelled for him to come out, but he wouldn’t. Soon Ochen arrived and dove straight into the house, pulling the limp Mateo out by the arms and legs. Mateo was drunk and out of his mind. All this had to do with him accusing his wife of infidelity. After reviving a bit, he jumped up, ran back to the charred and smoking hut, and lay down beside the burning coals. We pulled him out again and took him to the army barracks….