story to the court hearing Pam wrote about last week. There is no jury. The judge hears the case presented by the
prosecutor as follows: the prisoner’s
name is called and he goes to one side of the court room, adjacent to the judge
and stands in the criminal box. The
“complainer”, if he appears, goes to the opposite side of the court room and
presents his complaint against the alleged guilty party while standing in his
box. If there is a witness, he/she can
stand, approach the bar and also be heard.
I’m sitting there waiting about an hour before Nixon’s name is called listening to the cases presented before him, all in the Acholi language of Luo, of which
I understand nothing so I have no idea what these cases are
about. One prisoner’s name is called, he
enters the criminal box. The prosecutor
asks if there is a “complainer” A fellows
goes to his box. Is there a
witness? A witness stands up and waits
his turn to testify, the court hearing first from the complainer. I know all this is happening because I’m
asking Gladys, who I’m sitting next to, who are these people? She whispers the proceedings to me. Make a peep and you are tossed out of the
complainer presents his case against the prisoner. I have no idea what he is saying but later
learn the two had a land dispute and the prisoner was accused of burning
the complainer’s house down. It’s an
easy thing to do with every hut having a straw thatched roof. I’m listening to the complainer and then the
witness who I assumed was speaking in behalf of the complainer.
thing, I begin to hear muffled laughter from the audience in the court room
watching the proceedings. Then the
laughter gets louder and I’m actually beginning to figure out what is going on
here. I’m thinking this complainer is in
deep water because the witness is not pulling for him but for the prisoner. The prosecutor asks both the complainer and
witness a series of questions.
of a sudden the judge tells the complainer to go stand over in the criminal
box. The prisoner is set free, the
complainer is arrested and taken to prison himself for filing a fraudulent
complaint. Whatever the testimony of
the witness must have been very credible.
Moral: Always tell the
truth! Which reminds me of a song I
first heard around 1976 at a Church family function….“My teacher told me I
should never tell a lie, ie, ie. Because
a lie will bring you trouble sure as pie, ie ie” It’s an awful thing to do and it’s true
it’s true it’s true. You’ll get caught and then you’ll want to cry. You’ll get an horrid, painful pounding in
your head, ed, ed” …this story and song clip about telling the truth is
dedicated to my good friend of 40 years and attorney, Robert McKim Norris of
Birmingham and his son Robbie who sang this solo at about the age of 3 to our
ward members. Kim and his Pam, along
with my family members, stood close by me during my darkest day, Sara's death. A BAPTISM (Pam) We were eating at Chobe Lodge with the elder's on P day when one of the them "spilled the beans" about a happening with Big Mama, the cat a few weeks earlier. One of the elders has made it very clear when he came to Gulu that he doesn't care for cats. He was especially annoyed when Big Mama would call for her kittens - right under his bedroom window at 4 am. So on his birthday, he and accomplices decided she needed to be baptized. They filled a very large container with water, then grabbed her by the nap of the neck and baptized her by immersion (the elders tried to get support from Elder Moore by saying they baptized her in the name of Alabama Crimson Tide). Since she wasn't totally immersed they performed the baptism again, and had the gall to show me the video of this. When I didn't say much - one way or the other, they were each kind of embarrassed, blaming one another for who really started the whole thing. Later, the senior elder was sooooooooo apologetic, saying he felt bad for hurting me. Actually, it had nothing to do with me, but with the spirit touching his heart that it wasn't the right thing to do. Now, every time he comes over and sees Big Mama on the porch, he stops to pet her or pick her up and talk sweet to her. It's amazing what happens, even in rather trivial things when we are humble and let the spirit work on our heart.
We mentioned to you earlier the less-active family (8 children) that were returning to Church. We visited them one day and they were all on the ground, sitting on a mat, eating from this hefty tray of food. You just take the white posho and dip it into the beans and eat. No utensils. A few families may have a fork or spoon for a Muzungu joining them, but in most cases, we would eat the same way.
A visit to a sister's home and we saw where she had taken the "rocket stove" she had made and properly mudded it so the rain wouldn't cause the bricks to crumble. She had placed more wood than she needed in the bottom of the stove. This is one of it's advantages...no charcoal necessary and very little wood, making for cheaper burning and no carbon monoxide.
Another sister's home and these trees were growing everywhere on her property. They look like limes but they are lemons.
Following our most recent Zone Conference...the elders, President and Sister Chatfield (mission president) Pam and me.
Just two little cutie-pies.
Speaks for itself.
Typical bore hole. (Watering hole). This one was right on the premises as the sister who has the rocket stove above. VERY convenient. Locals often walk up to a mile or more to load up a jerry-can to carry back home to cook, bathe and wash clothes with.
Just some happy kids who should be in school but aren't because they can't afford it. The public education still requires school and exam fees.
In the home of a member.
Gasoline lines due to shortage. Kinda took me back to my Jimmy Carter days.
I counted about 50 bodas plus a few cars lined up waiting for gasoline and thankful I didn't need to buy any this day.
A couple of new inductees into the Ugandan Alabama Alumni Association.
The Bambooster Bike. Made from bamboo. A friend of ours telling me he wants to open a plant up here and begin making them. I ask, "how much do they cost?". $400 +. I think to myself, nearly 1,000,000 shillings. Not going to happen in Gulu. There is simply not that much money here. Actually, I think he was trying to get me to bite and tell him I would back him in his dream.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The Moral Force of Women continued:
Most sacred is a woman’s role in the creation of life. We know that our physical bodies have a divine origin4 and that we must experience both a physical birth and a spiritual rebirth to reach the highest realms in God’s celestial kingdom.5 Thus, women play an integral part (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) in God’s work and glory “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”6 As grandmothers, mothers, and role models, women have been the guardians of the wellspring of life, teaching each generation the importance of sexual purity—of chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. In this way, they have been a civilizing influence in society; they have brought out the best in men; they have perpetuated wholesome environments in which to raise secure and healthy children.
Sisters, I don’t want to overpraise you as we sometimes do in Mother’s Day talks that make you cringe. You don’t have to be perfect;7 I don’t claim that you are (with one possible exception who is sitting nearby at the moment). What I mean to say is that whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital, and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted. Certainly there are trends and forces at work that would weaken and even eliminate your influence, to the great detriment of individuals, families, and society at large. Let me mention three as a caution and a warning.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that adversity can help stimulate necessary growth in our lives:
“May I share some suggestions with you who face … the testing that a wise Heavenly Father determines is needed even when you are living a worthy, righteous life and are obedient to His commandments.
“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Proverbs 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 16–17).