Last summer when I was on furlough, I was surprised, and a bit appalled, by how everywhere I went, people asked me if I was thinking of retiring? Or when I’d be moving back home? To be truthful it had never entered my mind. But as I thought about it, my answer to them became, “No, I’m too busy!”
Today I was blessed to learn of a vivid fruit of my busy 21 years in Uganda. Pastor David brought some food things to my house by bicycle, as we are no longer allowed to drive personal vehicles. If I ever thought of life in Africa being unhurried (and believe me, it is!), it is now transformed from slow to downright sluggish, with the only transportation available being bikes or feet! He stopped by a little shop in my village to buy me some fresh milk, and he found the shopkeeper, Jane, talking to a group of spellbound people.
Jane is only semi-literate. She and her husband pastor a small church in a nearby village. And they’re my neighbors. Incredibly, she was explaining to the people how Covid-19 is a virus which cannot be treated with antibiotics. She told them bacteria can be treated but not viruses. It's immunity that's needed to prevent viral infections. Thus vaccinations can prevent viral illnesses, such as measles, by essentially giving children a tiny dose of measles virus, which causes them to develop immunity. Then they don’t get measles when exposed to it. And eating healthy foods helps to increase immunity as well.
David was astonished and asked her where she’d learned this? She reminded him that she’d learned it in my village health classes 20 years ago, when I’d taught for 2½ years out of the book Where There Is No Doctor. She reminded him that he was my interpreter!
Then she went on to tell the people that because Covid-19 is a virus, it’s not treatable with antibiotics, but we don’t need to fear because our bodies will build up immunity against it, with exposure and time. And she reminded them again of the need to eat well, and that eating the same starchy traditional foods day after day is not going to cut it. They need more balanced meals. In the avidly listening group was another lady, an educated woman, who validated everything Jane said.
My teaching-loving heart leaped for joy, and my first thought was I need to go over to the highway where the shops are, and start a small health class! Then I caught myself, knowing that the fruits of my labors were growing and producing. Jane was now the teacher! Let her do it!