My name is Bekky Njoki Njihia; I come from a small town known as Malindi on the Kenyan coast. Currently I am a Medical Missionary and a Norec participant among the Karimojong in Uganda. I am placed in a health centre where I work as a nutritionist and I help to do community outreaches which are geared towards improving the Primary health care of the people. This is my field story, in this narration I will be focusing on how living among the Karimojong has opened my eyes to see how God is still with us even when we seem to have nothing materially.
The journey to my placement; Lotirir in Moroto district (Karamoja region) started early in the morning on the 29th of October 2019. It was going to be the start of a new life in a new environment. At the moment everything was okay, I was even looking forward to the journey. If you had asked me it was long overdue. As we were moving along the road I kept noticing how the population distribution and the buildings were changing. People became more scattered and the buildings became simpler. After 10 hours of travelling we finally reached our destination.
I had heard stories about this area and I was mentally prepared for what I was going to find. However being there physically was different, it was real. The place was unlike anywhere I had lived, the people were also unlike anyone I had lived around. After a day in Moroto town we moved to our village in Lotirir where we were going live for a year.
Life in Lotirir has obviously been challenging. For example; we don’t have electricity, our water source is far from our house, food options are limited and the people speak a different language from mine. The biggest shock for me in all this has been how little most of them have. Sometimes when I am in our church service I wonder whether God is with us.
Lotirir is not short of the wonders of God. You can clearly see him in the creation around us. There is a beautiful mountain nearby, wonderful trees and animals all around but most of the people have very few resources and this makes me wonder whether God is with them. In my small understanding I reason that If God was with the Karimojong in Lotirir he would have done something about their suffering.
My work as a nutritionist in this area continues to expose me to their economic status. I have seen very malnourished children and adults. Once I witnessed a 21 year old young lady give birth to her first child and I was shocked. This lady came to the health centre with nothing but the clothes she had on. She had carried no personal items for herself or the baby she was about to deliver. Normally, a mother should carry at least, a clean cloth to wipe and wrap the new born in but it was not the case in Lotirir. After the baby was born, a woman who had escorted her gave the attendant a cloth that she was carrying her child in to wipe and wrap the new born. You could see that it was not planned for since the cloth was; old, dirty and carrying another baby! The other shocking part was how the lady walked back to her village a few minutes after the delivery. She did not wait for anything, her and her friends picked the new born and the soiled clothes the mother had and went home.
This was not the last time I witnessed such an incidence. It was more common than it was not. This made me realize that having enough resources reduces our tolerance for pain and having less increases this tolerance.
Therefore the big question is where is God in all this? If the Kejong’ were his people why would he let them have so little? This is a question I will continue to ask myself but I am reminded how their salvation is far more important than any kind of riches here on earth. This has been my motivation to share the gospel with them despite their suffering. While it’s important to care for them physically since Jesus instructs us to share our resources and be generous to those who have less. It is more important to care for their eternal suffering since living a comfortable life on earth is not worth escaping eternal death through salvation in Christ.