Monday, May 30, 2016

The major task for the morning—other than the regular posting of yesterday’s journal—is to get the papers graded and the course closed down. I spend the morning taking care of that. I can tell that some of the students really don’t understand what the assignment is supposed to accomplish—I think, now, of several ways I could have simplified it and clarified the instructions—but if the student concludes something that isn’t heretical, I think he should get some credit.

Other students do quite well. There are more A’s than C’s, and more B’s than either, so it’s a fairly decent scale. I take off a letter grade for each paper that exhibits plagiarism—which is a fairly mild penalty, especially considering that I spent considerable time talking about it—and I withhold a grade on one paper that arrives a day late and is an identical copy of another paper that came in earlier, except for the name. The student even handed it in with a copy of the paper he copied. I have no idea how he expected to get away with that.

So I get the grades reported to Timothy and the papers delivered to him for return to the students, and this course is officially in the books.

Yesterday the kind folks at Faith took an offering for us to go out to lunch today. Ivy drops by the house at noon, and we head off to Mummy’s Kitchen. The team pays for lunch for Timothy and Ivy, as a small token of our appreciation for all they’ve done for us. Rachael, Lora, and Bethany order a dish that’s mostly soup and that the locals eat with their hands. Moms, we’ve completely undone everything you taught your kids about table manners.

On the way home I need to stop and get some cedis for the bus tickets, and we need some tp and laundry soap for the last couple of days. Ivy stops at an ATM, and Rachael and I hit the machine. Not working; lets you sign in but offers only a balance inquiry. OK, cross the street and try that one. There’s a long line, and we can see a rainstorm approaching, and there’s not much cover. We wait our turn. And wait. And wait. People in front of us have animated discussions, apparently about how to work the machine. As the person in front of Rachael finishes, the machine shuts down. Great. Next door to Barclay’s ATM. Another long line. The lady in front of Rachel tries 2 different cards to see how much balance is on each, then goes back to the first one to make her withdrawal. Rain’s getting closer. Rachael steps up and gets her money. My turn. One of the team members comes from the car to tell us that another team member really needs to get, um, home. Fast. Cancel the transaction and run for the car. Wait for a bazillion motorbikes to get by. Pull into the street. A guy with an oxcart full of bales of cotton has the road blocked. We clear him, and the skies open up. Rush for home. Pull up. The team member in question is so located in the vehicle as to be the last person out. Run for the toilet.

Made it.

But now we’re pretty much out of tp.

Well, actually, we’re OK; the Crew tells me that while they were in the car waiting for us to use the ATM, Ivy ran into a shop and bought 10 rolls. That oughta do us for a coupla days, I hope.

The rain continues steadily through the afternoon. At 3, when we’re supposed to leave for some door-to-door evangelism in the Water Village (!), it’s still steady. About 4 pm John Lanchina, the pastor of the church plant there, comes by and agrees that the plans are not practical today. Since we’re leaving Wednesday after lunch, that means we really won’t be able to help him out this time. Maybe next year, he says with a smile.

Have I told you much about John? He’s Timothy’s younger half-brother, who got married last year while the team was here. He’s a graduate of CABC in Zambia—he’s wearing a Zambia national team football jersey today. Here’s a quick quiz: do you know what’s unusual about the Zambian national flag?

So we have the afternoon off, and it’s rainy, rainy, rainy. Naps; reading; talking; some trying to recover.

Late afternoon Naomi and her little boy come by, and she works with Lora on some turban styles. Jonathan thinks she looks like Princess Leia in one of them. We plan for Naomi to stay for supper, but her husband comes by to pick her up a few minutes before a delayed supper arrives.

Supper is ground-nut (peanut) soup with rice balls. I remind everyone to wash hands thoroughly; the inconsistency with which the digestive stuff is hitting us makes me think that it might be less likely that it’s the food and more likely that it’s hand-washing. Simon and Prince join us.

Simon helps Bethany and Sarah do the dishes, and then the two ladies make fruit popsicles. Pineapple and mango heated into a mash, poured into plastic cups, spoons dropped in, and into the freezer they go. A nice solution to fruit that’s about to outlive its edibility.

One of the benefits of having not much to do is that you have time to fix stuff you notice needs it. I fix the seat in one toilet and fix a leak in the other. Two fully functioning bathrooms; it’s like we’re getting the house ready to sell or something.

Devotions is brief tonight; I can tell the crew is tired. Most of us head off to bed soon afterwards.

Quiz answer: the logo is off-center. Hardly anybody does that.

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Dan Olinger

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

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