Sunday, June 21, 2015

Church at 8, as usual. All in Swahili, as usual. But we know more of what’s going on, and we can pick up that the guest speaker’s sermon is about Lot. The children are always glad to explain things.

Chai on Sundays is special; we get a hard-boiled egg in addition to the tea and mandazi. Afterwards we get to work planning the tutoring sessions for the next 2 days. I’d like them to get that knocked out by lunch so we can order the photocopies early and get that all taken care of.

Which we do. After lunch with the children at 1, we’re thinking about popping into town for a couple of hours, hitting the coffee shop, maybe buying some luxuries at U-Turn. I ask Ferdinand if he can line us up 9 piki-pikis to take us to The Pavement. No problem. He makes the call about 2 pm, and his guy says they’ll be right out.

We wait.

And wait.

At 3:30 we have 5 bikes. Since we have to get back for supper at 6, and since we need some folks to help with preparing said supper, there really isn’t time to wait for the last 4 bikes, catch a couple of vans (dala-dalas) at The Pavement, get into town, get some coffee, and reverse the process, especially when you figure in time for price negotiation, wild gesticulation, and frequent bluffing during negotiations. So I confer with Ferdinand, pay the 5 bikers the standard rate ($1) for their trouble, and send them back with no riders.

How did that happen? Well, when Ferdinand called the guy, he wanted all the business for himself, so he confidently promised something he couldn’t deliver. He took over an hour to round up 5 drivers and then came out when he couldn’t find any more. Which means it’s going to take another hour to round up the other 4.

First rule of doing business in Africa: don’t be under clock pressure. You will lose.

Second rule: don’t assume the guy will do what he promises. For the same reason that the phone companies here collect the money up front and don’t send bills.

Missionaries deal with this kind of inefficiency all day, every day. Pray for them.

Beth’s making calzones for supper. (It’s just amazing how well we’re being treated here.) Charity, Sarah, Emily, Jess, Amber, and I go down to help—it’s a pretty labor-intensive process. There’s the prep stage, chopping up the veggies and such; the filling stage (Beth already had the dough made); the Blue Banding stage (that’s the brand name of the margarine we brush on the outside); the sprinkling stage (parmesan cheese and garlic salt on the outside); and the carrying the sheets to all the ovens stage. (We need only 2 this time; the pizzas required all 3.)

Boy, is supper good.

New groups for house devotions this week. Kyla, Amber, and I start with the little ones; we’ll do 1 day of creation each night. I start us out with light and darkness. It’s a pretty short story. 🙂

We get some online time tonight, which we missed yesterday. It’s amazing how much stuff backs up when you go dark for 24 hours.

After team devotions we do some logistical work. First, tutoring tomorrow: where do I need to be ready to put out fires? We identify a couple of classes with particular potential for trouble, and we’ll give them lots of visible attention from the first minute.

Then we start setting up for camp. Kyla and Charity will be team leaders, and Amber and Sarah will be their assistants. Gershon will be activities director. Jess will construct the points system for the competition. Emily, Jessica, and I will be available as needed. Everybody gets to work, brainstorming mascots, cheers, memory verses. Soon the room is howling as some ideas are accepted and others, um, clearly won’t work.

Teamwork. Yessssss.

And to bed about 11.

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Dan Olinger

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

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