Greetings in Christ
World-wide we are all discovering the “new normal” in regards to daily life. In Uganda, the countrywide lockdown is slowly lifting, even as the curfew remains in place. Private and public transportation are now allowed on the roads with limited passengers and face masks. From mid-March until late-May people relied on walking or bicycles to get around as a measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, many non-essential businesses have been able to resume operations. Country borders, schools and public worship remain closed for now. So, the Lutheran Church of Uganda continues to minister via radio, phone calls and limited gatherings.
Like a lot of the world, Uganda is discovering what this means. What elements of life remain the same? What is different?
As we have shared before, greetings hold great value in Uganda. It is a way to acknowledge that you see a person, including their worth and value. Greeting someone and taking the time to listen and talk to them greatly acknowledges that they matter and are an important part of your day’s interactions. While out in Jinja after the lockdown, it was a joy to see people we had not seen in several months.
Observing other interactions, people were joy-filled to be able to greet others as well. Yet, there was some differences on how greetings now took place. Instead of the standard lingering handshake, people now might wave, or raise eyebrows as a quick greeting. Hands are now kept to oneself, but the joy of interacting and sharing about the day are still present. Smiles (albeit some are under masks) are still shared. People are grateful to hear how their neighbors and community members are doing. This presents such an opportunity for the church, and for us as missionaries, as we can continue to share about Christ’s love in the midst of a fallen world.