Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 9: Continued- It's the little things and the shocking things

I'm learning that it's the little things in life that really count.  For the last several days a large portion of the village has been without electricity, but life just keeps on moving.  It has only been a little over a year now since this portion of the village has had electricity available, so you can imagine how the people of the community have benefited from having such technology.  A few of the store owners have televisions just outside their shops, and music can be heard all throughout the day coming from all directions.  I believe it was last Tuesday when the power went out, and the locals found themselves reaching back to the past.  The televisions stopped and there was no music, but that didn't slow anyone down.

So this evening just before dusk, there was a quick flicker and everyone stopped for a moment and held their breath......  Then the power came back on.  Wow, you would have thought everyone hit the lottery!  People were cheering all throughout the village, jumping up and down, and celebrating that the power had been restored.  What an experience to see people rejoicing over something so small as electricity, quite an experience to see.  This evening the stores stayed open for a few extra hours.  You could find 20-30 people huddled around the store fronts watching television, and the upbeat Ugandan regatone was being blasted all over town.  The lights were back on in Bulenga, and the people were thrilled!

Not bad for the evening, but what a shocking afternoon it was.  So as we were walking back into town, there was a huge gathering right in the middle of town.  I asked Patrick what was going on because there almost appeared to be some rioting that was taking place, I wasn't sure.  Patrick told me that the people were gathering at the local Law Office for a public flogging, yes flogging.  Apparently 2 young men were caught stealing yesterday afternoon and were arrested.  In some Ugandan cultures, the penalty for such a crime is a public flogging.  Now for me, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word flog, is baton or a stick that is capable of breaking the skin, but not in this flogging occasion. Since this was their first offense for these young men, they were literally being bent over like a child and were being whipped with a belt over the behind.  The biggest part of this punishment was the public humiliation, I think the pain was minimal, although the guy swinging the belt was bringing the heat.  I was in complete shock and didn't know how to respond, especially since this was such a foreign sight to see.  The crowd gathering around was laughing at the situation, I couldn't believe this.  The truth of the matter is that this community loves its people, they want the very best for everyone, even the young thieves that were being publicly flogged or spanked.  This was a small price to pay for the crime that had been committed.  I'm still in shock...  You don't see that back home in the states, hopefully they learned their lesson.

I'm not writing this because I agree with their justice system, but I think it is very important for us as westerners to gasp as much of the picture as we can surrounding this culture.

Just another day of experiencing life in Uganda!  Good night from abroad...

PS.  If you ever have the opportunity to travel to another country with a tropical climate, please use the mosquito nets if they are available.  They aren't the best sight to see and can be a pain, but they work wonders!

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