Home / Louisiana Stories / Both Sides Now / A Harvest Moon on the Equator
Ember with her cake.

A Harvest Moon on the Equator

Curt holding Jael Miracle Mugisha, daughter of my Entebbe friends Andrew and Esther. She called me “Ja Ja” which is Paw Paw in Lugandan.

A word from Curt

Thanks to all of you who prayed, gave and sent DeDe, my sister Colleen, and me to Africa. We all feel our trips were God-ordained and made a difference for the Kingdom. Once again, thanks! Scroll down to read my latest story from Africa.

 

Tidbits

  • If you’re interested in our November #WriteYourBookNov18 Webinar, click here.
  • My Uncle Bill Iles is currently having an art show at the prestigious Cole Pratt Gallery in New Orleans. The official opening is today (Sat. Oct. 6 from 6-9). I’d be so honored if you’re in the area and can drop by. Learn more here.
  • Our latest novel, As the Crow Flies, is available in all formats. The best deal is the Kindle version for $2.99. Click here to order your ebook.
  • I’ll be speaking at various venues in the coming weeks. Visit our Appearances and Bookstore web page to learn more.
  • Pray for DeDe and I as we seek to be salt and light in our community, on our street, and in our jobs. Pray for Dee as she teaches at Prompt Succor and me as I serve as a chaplain at Roy O. Martin’s mills.
  • Speaking of Crow, the entire “Westport Trilogy”, is on sale for $40. Click here to learn more.

We’re still giving free downloads of our novel, A Good Place. Visit www.creekbank.net and click on the book image.

___________________________________________________________________________

Our ferry visas at the Nile Crossing.

A Harvest Moon On the Equator

J, his daughter Ember, and I finish a day’s hard drive across Northern Uganda, coupled with a two-hour wait at the Nile River ferry. (It’s the one where you sign a form listing your next of kin. They’d added a new twist: you receive a postage stamp sized cardboard square with “Visa” scratched on it. No one ever asked to see it. I brought it home as a souvenir.

After this full day, we’re ready for a hot meal, cold shower, and bed. However, Pastor Joseph flashes his famous smile when he meets us in Adjumani Town. “Mzee (Elder), we’ve prepared a party for your return.”

You never say no to African hospitality. I always remind myself that anything these friends do to make us feel welcome is an act of sacrifice.

We arrive just as the sun sets, but that’s not really accurate. The sun doesn’t set near the Equator, it just goes plop. One minute it’s daylight, then it’s past dusk.

At the clan’s compound, we join a circle of men as the women laugh while cooking in the huts. In Joseph’s village, I’m never sure who is kin to whom. Everyone is a cousin, brother, or uncle. It often leads to the proverbial question,  “Same mother. Same father?”

Several chairs are empty. I ask for old Luka (who gave my grandson Luke a rooster on our last visit) and am told he has passed. An old-timer who is either Pastor Joseph’s uncle or father reminds me of the cushioned mat I gave him in 2014. “It really helped my broken collarbone.”

I inform him that Mizz Cooter, who made the mat, is also now with the Lord. I can picture Old Luka and Mizz Cooter Willis being neighbors in Heaven, sharing a yard of chickens and sweet potatoes hills.

The party, or “program” begins. Pastor Mark, Joseph’s brother, is the emcee and his face and teeth gleam in the darkness. A few solar-powered lights are used by the ladies, but we mainly sit in the dark, but it doesn’t matter. The warmth of fellowship and friendship provide all of the light needed.

They’ve baked a tiered cake for us and give the top layer to Ember.

Ember with her cake.

We’re served a traditional meal of posho, groundnut sauce, rice, beans, and chicken. They’ve sacrificed to provide chicken for this crowd.

I look for a fork or spoon, expecting to find neither. We use our fingers to sop up the food. It’s good. There aren’t many opportunities in life where you get to lick your fingers off this much without having your ears pulled by your grandma. Also, it takes a while to eat rice and beans with your fingerprints. Kind of like thick chopsticks.

We sing.

We worship.

The ladies squeal their unique ovulation of joy.

Every pastor there gives a sermon.

I stare up into the night sky and find my three friends who’ve traveled this last month with me. Bright Venus, the evening star is setting in the west. Jupiter, a giant planet but much fainter follows its cousin setting toward the horizon.  High in the sky sits Angry Mars. It’s at its reddest and brightest of my lifetime and I never tire of seeing it nightly.

The rest of the night sky is mixed up as if someone took a stick and realigned the constellations. My northern hemisphere stars are not visible here.

Only Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are familiar and I find solace knowing that although  Louisiana is nearly eight thousand miles away, these planets will be in similar positions eight hours later back home.

Our party/program/worship service comes to an end as we head to our bush vehicle. Ember cradles her round cake top under her arm as she climbs in beside her dad. Sara, a young African trained in trauma counseling, catches a ride with us, and the four of us head out toward the main road and the nearby town of Adjumani.

 

Sara, trained as a trauma counselor, is helping war refugees rebuild their lives and hearts. (Notice boy in the background with prize rolling tire).

As J turns east onto the road, we are stunned. A full moon, like no moon I’ve ever seen, is rising above the bush directly behind the road. I’m reminded it’s the autumnal equinox and this is a harvest moon.

The old-timers named this moon due to its brightness and early rising extending the hours needed for harvest.

The afterglow of our party, the darkness around us, make the huge yellow moon even more impressive. I’ll remember it until the day I die. I didn’t even bother to take a photo, knowing no image would do it justice.

J turns off his lights and the four of us sit in the moonlight. I tell J, “Folks come on Safari to Africa and pay $10,000 each to be wined and dined and see a moon like this.”

J finishes my thought for me. “Aw, those folks don’t see the real Africa. What we experienced tonight is the real Africa.”

Reluctantly, J switches on his lights and we continue our journey. I’m ready for my cold shower, a hot coke, and a mosquito net covered bed.

This is Africa. The real Africa.

We believe that every journey has a story, and every story involves a journey.

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

Check Also

A Thought: Bricks Without Fire

A word from Curt The Borderlands Team is compiling a devotional book for Refugees. The ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shares