Wednesday, June 17, 2015

And as always, the morning brings new mercies. Great is His faithfulness.

The 1 sickest one from yesterday got up some last night and sat around with the rest of us, but s/he is still sick enough this morning that that class will need to be covered. It’s just 1 student, though a needy one, and another team member with a contiguous class offers to fold the extra student in. That’s what we did yesterday, and it worked well. So I’m back to my backup role, walking around and looking for things that need an extra hand.

First session goes well. After chai, with the 1 sick tutor still asleep, I join the Standard 3 class with another tutor, where we’ve decided to work on mental math. I’d guess that about a third of the students or less can actually do 1-digit mental math; another third uses their fingers; and the final third has to write hash marks on their paper and count them to arrive at the answer. And this is for problems like 4 + 2. So I go through a couple of stacks of flashcards with them, and then we give them worksheets with 3-digit addition and subtraction, including carrying and borrowing, so they can practice the mental math on their own.
What they need, I think, is individual tutors. So I need to bring 55 team members next summer. The line forms to the right.

A team member or two uses the hour before lunch to nap. I can get a sense of how the team’s doing physically by how many voluntarily take a nap during free time. They’re not lazy; so if they hit the rack, they need to.

Lunch is sloppy joes with cole slaw and pineapple, all of which are really good. A friend of Beth’s from town, a Pensacola alumna who’s been here for a couple of years, comes by with a couple of American interns who want to see the orphanage. After lunch they gather with the children in the kibanda and give them lollipops, while we look out of the house and say, “They’re giving them sugar?! What are they thinking?! Do they know what that’s going to make them like for the 3 pm session?!” And now we’re the old fogies who don’t want the kids to have any fun.
As it turns out, the lollipops don’t make any discernable difference in the kids’ behavior at the 3 pm session. I take half the Standard 3 kids at a time and read to them from a book about night animals. They seem to like the subject; they climb out of their seats and lean over the table to get a good look at the pictures. One of the boys has a fascination with the hair on my arm; he’s always stroking it. I guess this is his first encounter with brute strength.

We’ve had some avocados from the market for a couple of days, and several of the girls have been wanting to make guacamole. Charity, Amber, and Emily finally pull together some tomatoes and shallots this afternoon and make a batch. We’ve been talking about this for a while, and they’ve noted that we don’t have any chips to eat the stuff with. I suggested yesterday that we could cut some chapati into wedges, soak ‘em in lemon water (though lime would of course be better), fry ‘em up, and salt ‘em as they come out of the oil. So this afternoon they try it, and it’s a triumph.

I hereby claim prior art on chapati chips. Residual checks may be sent to my BJU box number. No, wait; they’ve done away with BJU box numbers. OK, send them to my home address. I’m in the phone book.
Supper is that delicious fried / braised whitefish. Gets better every time. And I’ll admit to really getting into eating everything with my hands.
After house devotions, team devotions is feeling like its old self again. We decide to risk singing again tonight, and we’re actually sounding pretty good, less like dying cows and more like humans. By the end of the night, even the sick one has come out and joined us on the couch. Looks like we’re moving toward normalcy once again.

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Dan Olinger

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

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