Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Frankly, the days are all starting to run together and sound alike now. Half the time I can’t remember which day I’m remembering. So y’all forgive me if I repeat myself.

We’re very much aware that our days are winding down here, and we feel the passing of each one. It’s an odd feeling, because we find ourselves growing sentimental about even the students who give us trouble. So I guess we love those who persecute us. 🙂

Classes in the morning, as usual. I use a reading comprehension lesson on the chambered nautilus to talk about the Golden Ratio and logarithmic spirals, and the kids actually seem to get it. Maybe it helps when I tell them that the elephant’s tusk and the lion’s claw have the same shape. That’s something they know about.

We have lunch with Beth and the Gasses on the Gasses’ porch. It’s tortillas and fixin’s. The tortillas look a lot like chapati, except they’re a little thinner, with no sugar, and not cooked in oil. By the way, we’ve learned not to call them tacos; the Swahili word “taco” means “buttock,” and so saying you had 3 “tacos” at lunch usually elicits a puzzled look. 🙂

We spend some time in the afternoon getting ready for the Big Event at 4—our knockoff of a WILDS “Fun Night.” We’ve decided to have it in the daylight for a number of logistical considerations. Several musical numbers to rehearse, and 4 skits, one of which we’ve decided to present in Swahili (not that big a deal; it’s slapstick, and there are only 6 spoken lines). So we rehearse, work out some kinks, and get a brief nap or two.

Show time. The kids sit on the wall around the kibanda, and we do the program in the middle. Everybody has a front-row seat, and we’re all in the shade. Perfect. The musical team consists of Jon on harmonica, Catherine on fiddle, Will on an absurdly tiny souvenir drum with a couple of Sharpie pens for drumsticks, and Katie doing a little Carmen Miranda thing with a maraca. (That’s a bit of an inside joke; somebody in Ghana thought she was from Brazil.) They sing “Old McDonald” and play “Turkey in the Straw,” and the kids don’t seem to have the foggiest idea what that’s all about. The musical numbers punctuate the skits: the doctor’s office, with Will being the patient who catches everything that everybody else has; Boot to the Head, with me as the martial arts master who decks his students with merely a word; The King and I, starring Jon and Will as, well, everybody; and Royal Altercation, with Matt Gass and me as the kings, speaking Swahili, and Jon and Will as our servants who fight in our places. The butterscotch pudding and the banana are the kids’ favorite weapons. All of the comedy is slapstick, and here doesn’t seem to be any cultural barrier to it. The kids, the house mothers, the kitchen staff, the missionaries all love it. We close with a warning not to try any of this at home. 🙂

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We’ve decided to have our own supper in the guest house tonight. Will cooks pancakes, we scrounge up a bottle of syrup from somewhere, along with PBJ, and it’s a meal. Then Jon bakes sugar cookies with colored sprinkles, and it’s a party. After house and team devotions, we finish off the night with an intense round of the OATG (Official Africa Team Game), Signs.

One more full day of classes, a day to say goodbye, clean, and pack, and then a day to change cultures completely. How time flies.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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