Saturday, 6/21/14

Ah, Saturday, with a very light schedule—just a brunch provided by the ladies at 9:30 am, supper, also by the ladies, at 6, and house devotions at 7. Beth also asks if we’d help with a little project after brunch for just a few minutes. So the rest of the day is wide open.

Last night we’d talked about a couple of non-exclusive options: we could climb the hill just to the northwest of the campus, which is taller than the ridge we’ve been climbing, in fact the tallest hill around, and certainly with a great view of the lake; or we could go into town using public transportation. I’m surprised that pretty much everybody says they’re tired of going into town; usually the broadband Wi-Fi is a strong draw. So looks like we’ll take some of the children and conquer the regional version of Everest.

But first, Matt and Sarah S take photos of the boys for the record, as they did for the girls a couple of weeks ago. Then that brunch. The ladies have fixed a real winner, served on Dan & Jana’s porch at 9:30 am. There’s French toast & syrup, some leftover chocolate-chip banana bread, sausage links, milk and granola, roasted potatoes, pineapple, and tea and coffee. Very nice spread. And let me just say that the Tazo Spicy Ginger tea is extraordinary. We linger at the table, not feeling any need to hurry off to anything.

After brunch Beth has a little project for us. They have some cribs that they don’t need any more and would like to sell. But the cribs have been disassembled, and they’re not uniform, so the parts aren’t perfectly interchangeable; specifically, the screw holes are more-or-less randomly sited, and we need to match them up. But first, we need to wash them, so we grab some buckets, detergent, and rags and go to town (metaphorically speaking). Some of the Tumaini children pitch in as well; those kids really know how to clean.

We figure that with the children running around the courtyard, matching pieces will be chaos, so we wait until they have their Bible lesson at noon, and then we start matching screw holes. It’s harder than it sounds to get all 4 pieces of 12 cribs designated, but in an hour or so we have it done, the pieces numbered, and the hardware stored away in easily recoverable form, with 1 crib kept out to be assembled for the photo for the ad. You may be familiar with the little book The Mythical Man-Month, which argues that if you throw more people at a late project, you only make it later; in this case, many hands really do make light work, and I suspect we’ve saved the Tumaini staff a good many hours of drudgery in knocking this out.

With the brunch, we’ve told the cooks that we won’t be eating lunch with the children today. That lightens their load some, since they typically serve us separately. We rest until the children are done with lunch and then announce that we’re hiking to the top of that hill right over there and who wants to come? We know the kids will enjoy it, and all but the very youngest will be able to endure the rigors of the hike, but we also realize that we really ought to bring back everybody we take, and the best way we see to do that is to limit the children to 2 per team member. Each team member fills up immediately, and to tell the truth, a few more children end up coming along as stowaways by the time we leave the campus.

We all stride down the road toward the north, making quite a sight for the folks at the houses and dukas we pass; we look like a Fourth-of-July parade—except that here they don’t have a parade on the Fourth, and they don’t capitalize Fourth either. We walk north for half a mile or so and turn west on the first main road to the left. Up a slight incline for maybe another half a mile, and then another left onto a small road—in the American West we’d call it a logging road—up the hill. It goes almost all the way to the top, and we climb the last 50 feet or so of altitude through rocks like those on the ridge on the other side of Tumaini. At the top there’s a lot of open space, plenty of room for the 40 or 45 of us, and we do lots of running around and get lots of pictures. The view of the lake and the Tumaini property is clear and crisp and scenic, and we spend a lot of time just looking.

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Soon it’s time to hike down. The children insist that it’s shorter to go a different way, and pretty much everybody heads off. I’m a little concerned about private property issues that way, but it’s too late to turn everybody around. In the end just Caitlin, Asher, and I go back the way we came.


We meet up at the bottom, and sure enough, they’re all there ahead of us. We hike down the incline to the main road, where I find myself far enough behind everybody else that I can stop at the duka and buy a nice cold orange Fanta for 500 shillings (35 cents or so). I have to drink it there, since it’s in a glass bottle, but it doesn’t take long. As I’m walking back, now even further behind, I hear a piki-piki coming up behind me and then a friendly voice, “Dr. Dan!” It’s Abeli on his motorbike, smiling broadly. I climb on behind him, and away we go. As we pass some of the last groups from the hike, I smile—a little too much for good taste—and wave. A nice end to a rewarding afternoon.


Oh—and hiking makes your feet really dirty.


One of the boxes I brought from home contained a complete set of football jerseys kindly donated by the BJU Bruins, and another had half a dozen new footballs. Beth wants to get the children into the jerseys, let them play, and maybe get some photos. So we spend an hour or so in the late afternoon doing that. We even get video of the children saying, “Asante [thank you], Bruins!” Maybe if I can find a dedicated T-1 line around here, I can post it.

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Supper on the porch is a nice selection of cold cuts—ham, garlic salami, and bologna, which the locals call “poloney”—with all the fixin’s: lettuce, tomato slices, mayonnaise, mustard, butter, and some other stuff I’ve forgotten about. Once again, they’ve worked hard to give us a taste of home with an African twist. We’re well fed.

After house devotions—Sarah B discusses the fall with the girls—we’re invited back to Dan & Jana’s house for a second Wii night. We have team devotions there first and then a little snack—some apple crisp and tea—and then a few of the kids play some games on the Wii while the rest of us just fellowship.

Around 9:30 I head home to bed, and from what I hear later, pretty much everybody else follows shortly after. Caitlin and Sarah M can’t sleep, and they stay up talking into the wee hours. Or so I’m told.

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Dan Olinger

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

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