Friday, 6/27/14

Last day of work. I expect that there will be a lot of behavior problems in the last tutoring session this morning, and as I sit in the girls’ house I can hear one. 🙂 I survey the others as they come in after their sessions, and results are mixed. But several of them enter with a relieved sigh, and something to the effect of “Done!”

We’re into the “last one of these” phase now; today is the last Friday lunch on the Gasses’ porch. Laura has prepared enchiladas, and they’re really good. We linger around the table, talking about the children, plans for the weekend, life in Tanzania, and whether we can buy some good Swiss chocolate in Zurich on the way home.

After lunch Shangazi wants to get photos of each of the Standards—grades—with their tutors for the month. That will make a nice archive. We figure it’s best to get that done before the afternoon’s games and the concomitant sweatiness.

Then comes Fun Time, a series of skits to wrap up the 3 days of camp. We’ve decided to act out some of their favorite fairy tales, and further that it’s easier to have a narrator read the stories while we mime them, so we don’t have to memorize all the lines. We’ve noticed that Lois is a particularly good narrator, so we give her that role for all the stories she’s not in. The playbill follows:

Little Red Riding Hood

Narrator: Lois

Red: Sarah S

Mother: Hannah

Wolf: Caitlin

Grandmother: Matt

Huntsman: Nathanael

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Narrator: Lois

Little Billy Goat: Lydia

Middle Billy Goat: Kaleigh

Great Big Billy Goat: Caitlin

Troll: Asher

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Narrator: Sarah B

Goldilocks: Josalyn

Father Bear: Dr. Dan

Mother Bear: Sarah M

Baby Bear: Lydia


Narrator: Lois

Cinderella: Sarah M

Stepsisters: Sarah S, Matt

Stepmother: Hannah

Messenger: Asher

Fairy Godmother: Dr. Dan

Prince: Nathanael


Narrator: Josalyn

Rapunzel: Dr. Dan

Witch: Kaleigh

Prince: Lois

We use minimal props and do a lot of mugging, and the children laugh in all the right places. Special highlights are when Red Riding Hood prances through the forest picking flowers; when Great Big Billy Goat Gruff knocks the Troll into the river beneath the bridge; when Goldilocks breaks Baby Bear’s chair, and when Rapunzel sings. It’s interesting to me that while cross-cultural humor is really tricky—you have to be careful using humor in sermons, for example—children seem to laugh at the same things the world over. Apparently our senses of humor are modified by our culture as we mature.

We play 4-way football for our final game, with some trepidation, but Matt says it was the easiest game to run off all the games we’ve played. We announce the winning team—Brazil—and everybody gets a package of Pop Rocks™. Some of the little ones get more on their face than in their mouth, but everybody seems to have a good time.

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At Shangazi’s suggestion, the team closes the week the same way we did last year; we take the 15-minute hike up the hill to Faulu and have a soda while enjoying the sunset view of the lake. The most popular soda by far is Fanta Black Currant—Beth says it’s the closest thing you can get to Dr. Pepper here. Several of the kids get Fanta Passion Fruit; that’s another one available here but not back in the States. I’ve noticed that Americans tend to favor spices for their sodas: cola, root beer, ginger ale, while other countries tend to have a far greater variety of fruit flavors than we do. As I’ve noted, my favorite, when I’m not drinking club soda, is Bitter Lemon; it’s less sugary than the others.

Anyway, we take some photos on top of the hill, including the now-trite “Everybody jump!” shot that last year’s team did as well.

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The Faulu hike makes us late for supper, which is ugali and ground beef—the first time we’ve had ground beef here. Lois says, “This beef was good.” I hear, “This week was good” and ask, “What do you mean by that?” She stares at me blankly; how are you supposed to answer that? And she was sitting on the side of my good ear.

My group’s 5 little cherubs are a little active tonight at house devotions, but not impossibly so. Nathanael gets the prize for giving the devotional while holding 2 squirming boys on his lap. We close with some quieter songs—Jesus Loves Me and God Is So Good—and when we’re done little Neema is asleep on Sarah B’s lap, and the boys are pretty much ready to go to bed as well.

For team devotions I congratulate the team on completing the job they came here to do. This is the longest I’ve kept any team in one location, and it’s the longest they’ve taught a single group of children. That’s a tall order in itself. Add to that the unexpected challenge of a lack of running water, and you have a significant challenge for a bunch of first-world college kids. They’ve handled it well and conducted themselves effectively with their classes. The children hang on them and will be sad to see them go, and Shangazi tells us that we’ve taken a significant load off of the Tumaini staff just by being here. (I should note that we’ve also added to their load, most obviously the cooking load, but they insist that it was worth it.)

So. Good for your kids. They’ve done the job well.

We celebrate with a couple of batches of caramel popcorn, and as usual the guys march off into the darkness in search of their bunks. And on the way out the door, for some unaccountable reason, it occurs to me that I ought to take a picture of all the shoes piled inside the front door.


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Dan Olinger

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

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