Crime, punishment and forgiveness
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
17Trip End May 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Dolce Vita Resort
We pulled in to Buseruko at around 09:30 and started right in on more counseling sessions. Mr. Mundeli and I split up this time; Nathan worked with him and Mo´se with me. We were able to work with more people this way. We were at one end of the church hall, they at the other. We went through without with only short breaks for about 4 hours.
By around 14:00 we were ready to perform the 14 baptisms that have, for most of those involved, been in preparation for more than a year. We drove down the dirt road which leads to the stream, as far as we could and parked in a little sub-village.
There was excitement as we arrived, since we had happened on an unfortunate matter. A dusty grimy teenager of about 17 was the center of attention of a group of stern faced adults. His elbows had been tied together behind his back and he'd been roughed up from the look of things. We walked quickly through the crowd, on our way to the stream but news trickled to us as we walked. The young man had been smoking hemp (cannabis) and stole some bananas from what used to be his father’s field. But his father has recently sold the field and banana plants to someone else, who caught the thief in the act and demanded his money back. This put the father in a bad situation, and he apparently approved of whatever punishment had been meted out and wasn’t averse to adding some of his own. The boy was obviously resisting going home with his father. It didn’t appear to be a situation that would be easily sorted out.
All that completed, Mr. Mundeli and I gathered the group together. I asked a blessing, which was translated, on the whole ceremony and then we waded out into the stream and performed 14 baptisms one after the other. Then wading back out again we proceeded to the laying on the hands to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit on each one. I asked a global prayer on the group and then asked Mr. Mundeli to ask the individual blessing which he could do in a language they could each understand. I think it worked well that way.
As we were asking the last prayers it started to rain lightly. We walked back to the car and drove back to Nathan Mokeshimana’s house. By the time we arrived there it was pouring rain. We ran through the downpour dodging puddles and trying not to slip on the wet clay, until we arrived at the house. They weren’t expecting us so soon and with the rain beating on the tin roof they couldn’t hear the increasing soaked friends shouting outside the front door to be let in. The door finally opened and we shook ourselves off inside before sitting down for a meal of rice, beans, chicken and sauce, finger-sized cooked bananas and a soda each. It was nearly 16:00 by this time, so we didn’t have time to dally.
We ate quickly and taking our leave of Nathan and his wife, went back to the car. The sudden downpour has stopped, though we still had to watch the puddles and clay-mud.
The drive back to Bujumbura was uneventful; thankfully so. We arrived just after sundown, and at my hotel, separated for the night. I have to get the French member newsletter out tonight and prepare for services tomorrow and the ongoing portion of my trip.