23 July 2008

Bunga Justice...

Yesterday was a strange day… I came home and asked everyone about their day…

Christine was tired from painting in the boy’s room all day…

The boys were tired from playing with their trucks all day…

Joseline and Faith were smiling from ear to ear as they ate papaya and proceeded to tell me about their day…

A 16-year old boy came by and stole a papaya from your tree (I don’t eat papaya… its too slimy). Then he took it to the neighbor’s house and tried to sell it to them for 1000 UGX (60 cents). They refused but told him we would be interested in buying it. While he walked back to our gate they called and told us a thief was on his way. We welcomed him in and took him to our rooms. There we confronted him for stealing and beat him. Then we let him go.

WHAT?????

Yes, we had to teach him not to steal…

I wasn’t sure what to think…

So today at work I talked about it with the GBI librarian… her response…

It’s a good thing he didn’t steal a hen… the beating would have been much worse… usually the whole neighborhood comes to deliver the beating…

Still unsatisfied I brought it up with the students in my mentoring group… today was their turn to mentor me…

They explained further that the police would not help in this situation so it is the responsibility of the one being robbed to bring the punishment…

So I asked… why don’t you just forgive them… its only 1000 UGX…

Their response was even better…

Yes, it is only 1000 UGX but his life is worth more than that and he needs to learn so he does not go out and do worse…

So then I asked… is this a form of discipleship? ... discipleship by beating?

My eyes were still wide with wonder and one of the older students spoke to me…

Don’t worry Pastor Jeff… it would look strange for a white to beat a black… this is something for us to do with our people to encourage them not to steal… I don’t want whites assuming I’m a thief because I’m black… so I must teach my fellow Ugandan...

I’m still not sure what I think… it still seems strange to me…

9 comments:

David Quinn said...

This reminds me of a passage i've always had difficulty with in Nehemiah because it is so foreign to the way we think now. In Chapter 13, verse 25 Nehemiah beats some of the men and pulls out their hair because they had taken wives from other people groups.

Kelly said...

I could definitely see Joseline beating someone.

Lena said...

As Joseline and Faith would say it..."Nya Kukuba!"

I could definitely see it too =)

Flo Oakes said...

Who doesn't like papaya?!

John said...

Should we let him keep on stealing papaya so that grace would abound? America has allowed "tolerance" to replace the beauty that God placed into man. When we steal,cheat,etc. we sadden God and cheapen God's creation. The beating is a form of love. Yes, it's a discipline. One that is all too often overlooked in the USA. Heaven forbid that we would actually hold someone accoutable for their misdeeds. Jeff, it does appear that it takes a village to raise a child and change a culture. Now if lying, cheating and other misdeeds were so easily exposed and dealt with, what a difference it might make.

Abigail said...

this is indeed interesting. the idea of beating does unsettle me. at the same time i think of andrew olsen's advice to parents, that the punishment of sin must hurt worse than the thrill, joy, and rush of the sin act. in that way, it's simple weights and balances. if the punishment is minor in my mind compared to the thrill of what i just did - what is to keep me from doing it again?

i think your last student's insights are very wise.

and all at the same time, if i were you, i'd still be totally uncomfortable with the beating. because we've been taught in america that beating is always wrong. and yet here you've met those who disagree with what i had always assumed was an absolute. how do you reconcile it? i don't know.

Michele said...

man, i miss uganda.

bizzle said...

that was supposed to be from this account...

so, i will say again...

MAN...do i EVER miss uganda.

this just doesn't happen in the USA. although, i can see how if it DID, we probably would be a lot more accountable for our actions.

ok, back to my previously light post of..."man, i miss uganda".

:O)

hope you all are well!

michele

Teenietinyt said...

Wow...what an interesting thing to say. I wonder what the reaction would have been of an African American individual who is still bitter about slavery. I would be interested to know how that would have played out.