| Jun 25, 2013
Day Twelve — Woodland to Vancouver, WA
23 miles walked today
24 miles to go
The weather forecast for my walk today was “showers.” In the Pacific Northwest, that can mean just about anything. Today, it did.
Today, during my walk, it rained, it misted, it deluged, it drizzled, it sprinkled. In between, we had clouds, sun and wind. It’s a good thing that Phil Lane, who walked with me in the morning, and Jeff and Sandy Grubb, who walked with me in the afternoon, are veteran Pacific Northwest outdoors people.
When it started to drizzle, they simply pulled on their rain jackets. Then, when the rain stopped, they tied their jackets back around the waists. We must have done that 2-3 times an hour. But, there’s one thing we didn’t do. We never stopped on account of the rain. We continued to walk. Because, that’s just what we do here in the Pacific Northwest.
A few months ago, when Lynn and I visited the Nakivale refugee camp in Uganda, the rainy season was just beginning. As a result, we experienced some violent rainstorms.
One day, as we were walking through one of the communities in the camp, we met Gidette, a refugee who is the mother of nine children. When rebel fighters attacked her village in Congo one night, Gidette’s family fled in all directions. In the confusion, the two oldest children were separated from the rest of the family.
Now, Gidette and her husband live with their seven remaining children in a cramped 8 ft by 12 ft hut made from tree branches and a tarp roof given to them by the U.N. There are holes in the tarp where the sun has weathered the plastic.
The night before we met Gidette, there had been a torrential downpour in the middle of the night. Gidette and her husband huddled in their tiny tent hut with all seven of their children. Despite their efforts to avoid the leaks in the roof, there was no doubt that all of them were soaked by the rain.
Gidette faces many other struggles in her life. One of her seven children is almost always sick. John Bosco, her husband, was shot in the leg as he tried to escape the rebels. Now, he is unable to work, As a result, Gidette needs to work in the fields to get food for her family.
When we ask Gidette about her two missing children, she says that she worries about them all the time and prays for them every day. She doesn’t know what to do. She feels helpless. “We’re living in the hope that one day we will be reunited,” she says quietly.
Outside of Gidette’s small hut is the frame of a larger house, which would give the family much more space. The house would be made from papyrus and mud. However, the couple does not have money to buy more poles. Until they can buy the additional poles, the house will just stay there the way it is.
And, Gidette and her family will continue to live in their hut with the leaky roof, trying to stay dry when it rains.
We prayed with Gidette at the end of our time with her. She started to cry. When we asked her about her tears, she replied, “ I am so grateful whenever I hear the name of the Lord."
It “showered” today on my walk. But, I had a rain coat and a warm, dry place to spend the night. That’s not the case for Gidette.
So, today, during my walk, I prayed for Gidette—that she will find her two missing children and that her family can move into a better house. I thanked God for our staff and volunteers who work at the clinic where Gidette’s children can get the medical care they need.
And, I thanked God for the privilege of meeting Gidette, whose faith in the face of such overwhelming difficulty continues to inspire me.
And, that’s a lot to celebrate during a rainy day on my walk.