A couple of weeks ago I took a boda (motorbike taxi) home; the conversation steered to where it normally leads: ‘how many children do you have?’ Normally, I just let these comments fly past with replies such as ‘none yet, yes family planning, us muzungus wait long I know!’ But for some reason this time I thought I would try to challenge the strong local expectations of ‘breeding and producing’. My comments went something along the lines of ‘I am not sure I want to have children, maybe God has something else planned for me.’ My goodness what an onslaught I soon faced! ‘Do I have a disability?’ – No! This occurred all on the back of a motorbike. Then, low and behold, he runs out of fuel in a quiet section of road. So we continued our ‘discussion’ on the roadside, waiting for someone to pass by, then go and get some fuel and return to us (let’s just say there was a long time for discussion). I was dealt questions such as ‘where is the fruits of your marriage?’ ‘What will you show to your parents?’ ‘What does your husband think?’ For more than thirty minutes I endured (that fuel couldn’t come quick enough!); right up to my gate when his last comment to me was: ‘I want to see you in one year with a child’. I felt like punching him!
Two days ago I was in town, heading home from a school, and a boda calls out to me. I didn’t particularly need one straight away (had to stop at the supermarket first) but he calls out to me and was quite persistent and said he knows me; he comes over, pulls up – it’s the same guy! The first thing he says to me is: ‘have you reconsidered about children?’ So… I got on the back, went to the supermarket and left him with a question: ‘What do you think is the meaning of life? What is your purpose in life and why are you here?’ I told him I wanted an answer when I returned. Of course his answer was ‘to reproduce’. But this was a nice introduction to an interesting conversation on the way home when this time I steered the conversation and attempted to challenge a few of his worldviews. The best comment I heard from him that afternoon was: ‘our brains have come a long way (I was talking about Paul in the New Testament); he said we know how to love so much better now! Well that was a good opening for me. What does love mean? How did Jesus show love? Oh, but Jesus had a purpose he said to me. Purpose? I said. Now that is a key word… which brought me back around to my original question and further interrogation.
Had many an interesting talk about this topic with several people in Uganda during my time. Similar battle as to when to speak up — such a fine line. Respecting self & respecting others. I usually just let the holy spirit guide & sometimes do it, sometimes not. Especially interesting working in an Christian work environment where you have devotions every day… hard not to challenge when things like this get brought up in devotions weekly, touted as absolute truth! Keep it up. Hope you’re loving being back!