Mzungu! Mzungu! … Another Uganda Reflection

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10     Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. – Mark 11:1-11

housing in resettlement villages

This is what the children would cry when we entered their villages.  Mzungu means white person.

As Karen Alford took us throughout the Nakivale Refugee Resettlement area, we were always greeted by large gatherings of children.  Everyone was curious to see us.   First, because we came by car and, second, we dressed and looked different from them.  Lydia, a Ugandan colleague of Karen, shared with us that they often associate us with resources.  It was weird for me to feel this sense of heroic greeting.  After all, how on earth could this small team of four people personally affect each individual child?

Reading these familiar verses in Mark 11:9 & 10 took me back to where I was only a week ago.  While these children didn’t have coats or branches from the fields to throw on the streets before us, they gave us the most wonderful welcome.  Running ahead of, behind and around us, they called out, “Mzungu!  Mzungu!  Mzungu!”

Now, whenever I read this passage, I will be reminded to glorify my Jesus with the same jubilant and exultant shouts that I experienced hearing from these beautiful children of God.