More Than Just A Grass Roof

My project for this week began with the widow and widower’s roofs and bathing shelters.  And the stories that are coming out of this have much more to do with than just a roof.  The widow lives with her son who is mentally disturbed by demons and darkness.  He doesn’t do anything to help his mother and I don’t think he is all there to help much anyway.  All day he sits and stares.  This week we built her bathing shelter and work has begun on making bricks to build her a new tukul.  As we talked I learned that she has another son who is in the Yei prison.  He has been there six months and she desperately wants him out because she loves him and he can help her with harvesting and building and caring for things around the hut.

The police wanted 1,000 Sudanese pounds to get him out.  This is the cost of building the roof on her hut.  She asked me if I could get her son out instead of building her a roof.  After much pondering I felt I needed to do the first thing God asked me to do, build her roof.  I told her that I knew she had grass available for her roof and that I would buy the grass from her to fix her roof and maybe that would be enough if she could talk the police down a bit.  We prayed and she left for town the next day.

When she returned she brought the glad news that she could rescue her son for 200 Sudanese pounds, just a teensy bit more than the cost of her roof grass.  I brought it to her and bought her grass, thereby allowing this sweet and humble woman to maintain her dignity after all she has been through.  She then asked me to talk to her son because he was hanging with the wrong guys when he got arrested.  I told her that our pastor would talk with him and she was so happy.

On the other side of the small village the widower, well his roof was finished this weekend and a door has been built into the hut along with a bathing shelter.  I am now going to town on Monday to buy him a proper bed so he will not have to sleep on tree limbs anymore.  I haven’t seen his son, who has a big problem with alcohol.  But it turns out that his other son also lives next to him.  This other son is lame in one leg because the drunk son beat him.  He is very nice and polite and wants to help his father but because of his leg he cannot.

Each day I, and two of our children, walk the ½ mile to his hut and bring lunch for him.  We learned that he has been living on a diet of sweet potatoes and nothing else.  Yesterday an old lady came and greeted me and the son told me that it was his mother, the “widower’s” wife!  Apparently she left him and went to stay at the neighbor’s three years ago because there was no roof on the hut and he was sleeping in that rickety shelter.  I am just shocked that his “wife” and two sons all live next to him and he has been neglected like this.  The son said that they have all been suffering.  I can never know the depth of their suffering.  Now that he has a real hut again, he refuses to take his wife back.  Next week I am definitely bringing our pastor and we are going to sit and talk and see about major reconciliation for this family.  All of this came from an Iris child noticing that an old man needed a roof!  So much opportunity so little time….