Thursday, June 18, 2015

While Gershon’s taking his cold shower in the guys’ bath house this morning, somebody starts using the water outside, which effectively cuts off his flow. So you wait, and eventually you can continue your shower. Just another day in Africa.

The sick one’s still sleeping this morning. We’ll cover the class. Teamwork is like second nature now. For the second session is drill half the Standard 3 children on multiplication facts. We end up concentrating on 2 x 1 through 4 x 4. They’re pretty good on the 0 and 1 families, but everything else is just absent. You have to hold onto the hope that eventually this will make a difference.

Lunch is chicken roll-ups. We’re careful to call the wraps “tortillas” and not “tacos,” because the Swahili word tako means “buttock,” and that leads to some funny looks during menu conversations.

The afternoon session goes smoothly. Looks as though the sick one will be back in the saddle tomorrow, barring a setback. Back at full strength, finally.

After the session Gershon comes into the house in full Chinese dudgeon. “This is so frustrating! I tell them 3 times that there are 100 centimeters in a meter! And I ask them how many centimeters in 8 meters, and they can’t tell me! [This is Standard 5 he’s been teaching.] I tell them there are 8 meters in this measuring tape, and I ask them how many times I have to use it to get 40 meters, and they say 3! and 6! They’re guessing, and they can’t even guess the right answer!”

Something about his frustration strikes us all as funny. But we’re laughing with him, not at him. We all feel it.

After the session some of the kids want to go for a hike, so we take them south of the compound to the lake shore, where, to my delight, a fishing boat has put in, and 3 fishermen are pulling a net, in just about the same way it’s been done for thousands of years. They’ve got 4 or 5 big tilapia, totaling about 12 kilos, plus an eel and a bunch of smaller specimens. As far as I can tell, they don’t throw the small ones back; they just leave them to die on the shore. I wonder if we’ll hear in a few years that Lake Victoria has been overfished.

It’s a routine evening until our online time, when we read in the news of the Charleston AME church shooting, and we pray for the families. There is no hope outside of the gospel. May it spread to every kingdom, tribe, tongue, and nation.

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Dan Olinger

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

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