by Bucky Rogers
Founder and Executive Director of Benjamin House Ministries
There are a lot of things that get lost in translation here. A wave that we would consider to say “hello” actually means “come here.” If you only shake someone’s hand one time, you must not like them very much. The more handshakes the better. There are obvious language issues and even when you try to speak something in Luganda, the words are so similar that if you try to say, “Is it time for breakfast?” you might just end up saying, “Armadillos swing from the tower.”
As we traveled today after church this morning, we ate lunch with a little fella named Brian. One of our team members has sponsored him for a little while and got the chance to meet him while he was here. Brian is from a very rural village and had never been into the city. He had never seen a white person. He had never tried ice cream and was a bit taken back by it being cold (they don’t have refrigeration that far out). You expect stuff like that to be new and odd for someone in the bush.
When our team member went to see them off and tell them goodbye, he did the typical open arms so he could get a hug. Brian just stood there looking puzzled. One of the people from his organization broke the silence and said, “I don’t think he’s ever been hugged.” When he told me that, my heart sank. Of all the cultural norms that you expect to be different, that’s not one I ever wanted to experience. In the US, children, even though many are neglected, are held in fairly high view. In Uganda, children aren’t viewed very highly. Physical affection from a father particularly is pretty rare. I can’t imagine this.
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Bucky Rogers, Benjamin House staff, and short-term missionaries