Late afternoon last Friday, I was looking forward to a nice quiet evening home with the boys–maybe even watching a movie on the laptop. All those thoughts came to a halt when two men I did not know, one my age and the other many years younger, came walking up the driveway.
They asked to see Mama Carol, and one of the boys came to get me. When I introduced myself, the younger of the two looked at me and said, “Mama Carol, we have a small problem and I am hoping you can assist us.” I braced myself and started rehearsing the “we have no money and try to help only the street children” speech in my head, while I asked him what the problem was.
He looked at me sadly and said, “This is my father.” He pointed at the older man with him. “He just received word that my brother is dead, and we have no way to get his body out of the busy for burial.” Wow–it hit me–you never know what God is going to ask of you, but I surely knew that this request had to be answered. I said that of course I would help and went to get the keys. I loaded one of my boys in the truck to help interpret, and off we went, no questions asked.
One hour later, we arrived at a police post in the bush and asked for permission to retrieve the body. They were very obliging and I thought I would be home soon. Wrong–I drove through the bush for over another hour, using foot paths and roads that had never seen a motor vehicle before. What an adventure. It would have been a great four wheeling journey–however, I had a grieving father talking and crying next to me for the whole time–in a language I am unable to understand.
We finally arrived at the charcoal making site where the boy had died. No one could tell us what happened except that he was drinking kachasu (moonshine) and had not eaten for days. Then he was walking and just fell down and died. He had not been moved or covered, and had been lying in the hot African sun for two days. Needless to say, this young man was horrific looking and smelling.
We rolled what was left of him into a blanket, but could not hold him because he was falling apart every time we tried to move him. So right there in the bush, folks gathered and made us a wooden cot out of sticks, and rounded up a mattress that would help to keep him in one piece on the journey back. Finally, we got the body on the mattress, loaded him into the truck and off we went to bring this young man back to Chamulimba.
Back through the bush roads with the grieving family and the corpse of their son and brother, I thanked God for the chance to be able to help like this. I was at the farm, I had the use of Mr. Malley’s cantor, I had a full tank of diesel and I said “yes” when asked. Without that, this young man’s body would not have been brought home to rest.
Say “yes,” my friends–you never know what needs your gifts can meet.