Wednesday was quite a day! It began as a normal school day. The students arrived at school and we began our classes. At some point we became aware that the opposition candidate for the presidency here in Uganda was arrested. This isn't the first time. There are currently laws against campaigning since that would gather crowds and potentially spread COVID. This was apparently the reason for the police detaining the candidate this time. Many who support this opposition candidate began protesting and rioting as a result of all of this. Since this occurred in Jinja, our nearest town, there was quite a bit of unrest there. The police then began releasing tear gas around town in order to restore order. While the tear gas dispersed the crowds, they shifted to other locations which prevented or complicated movement around town.
When it was time for our students to be dismissed, order had not been restored in town, so we kept the students here. Our school is out of town in a village in the midst of sugarcane fields. We have a peaceful environment and are not a location where protesting and rioting is likely. I was so thankful that our students were able to stay with us in a safe place and just play or hang out until things settled down in town. The students seemed to be excited to be able to have more time together. It was an unexpected blessing. While some students were concerned for their parents, we were able to provide some fun diversions with games, music and snacks.
While afterward I was exhausted, this crazy day reminded me that we have so much for which to give thanks. I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a peaceful rural village where we do not have to deal with as many political issues. I am thankful for teachers working with us who are willing to stick around and help our students have fun on a stressful day. I am thankful for a missionary team that is like family with whom we could process some of the events of the day during devotions together that evening. I am thankful that during the lockdown, we found ways to get things from town without having to go in person, which will be helpful if there is any further political unrest. I am thankful that COVID-19 has not caused a significant amount of illness or death here in Uganda. I am thankful that we will be able to celebrate an American style Thanksgiving with our missionary team. And I am thankful that in the midst of the many challenges of 2020, God has still given us the chance to serve here in Uganda. God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is good!