Thursday, June 09, 2016

Day two. I think the morning sessions will tell us a lot about what the children are thinking.

I take a 5-gallon jug of filtered water over to HQ; my filter runs a little faster than theirs, and I don’t need to use much filtered water. So I’m just functioning as a second filter for them.

At HQ I learn that Jojo and Jonathan took a few of the boys on a hike at 6:30 am. They were wanting to hike the stony ridge just across the road before taking the kids up there, so just after daylight they took off. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get off the compound without being seen, and a dozen or so boys wanted to go along. That’s probably just as well; the boys know the ridge well and can act as guides. They make the littlest ones stay home, and they sternly warn those that are going that if they wander off from the group, they’ll never go on a hike with us again. They have no trouble.

The view from the top is quite good. You’re about 30 meters or so above the compound, and you get a good overview of the grounds and the surrounding area, with the Lake Victoria inlet just beyond. There are some large rocks at the top—John calls the biggest one Pride Rock, from The Lion King—where you can sit and enjoy the view or take pictures. I’ve done the hike several times in past years; I’m going to pass this year and save the knee for the hike down to Dias Beach at the Cape of Good Hope. Wouldn’t want to miss that.

The first tutoring session proceeds well; I make the rounds 3 times and see no trouble, except that Lora has a serial cheater and has to confiscate his cheat sheet. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that if he does it all the time, the teacher will just search him until she finds it and then make him do the exercise without it.

Chai is uji and mandazi. I find Jonathan and Jojo sitting on the porch with a bunch of boys, and Jonathan teaching them the Cup Song–with a word or two changed in the lyrics. They love anything with rhythm, and our 2 guys are good at teaching it, so it’s a real match.

The second session goes better than yesterday—at least in terms of attitude and behavior. Some of our Crew is frustrated by the low level of student proficiency, but teaching is all about meeting the student where he is and moving him in the right direction, so we’ll play the cards we’re dealt, so to speak.

Sloppy joes for lunch, with fresh veggies and watermelon. Again it feels like a party with all the missionary families there—except Dan & Jana, who will be back this afternoon.

As usual, some free time after lunch to do what needs doing. Jojo needs a nap. By the way, did you know that jojo is the Swahili word for bubble gum?

At 4, as the sherehe groups are starting, Beth, Rachelle, and I take a rare trip into town. Beth and Rachelle are taking an overnight vacation—well deserved—and I’m meeting with the company from which we’re purchasing a Serengeti safari, to pay the bill. It’s scheduled for a week from Saturday, just a day trip. We’ve done this with several teams; the price is reasonable, the budget will tolerate it, and you just shouldn’t be this close to the Serengeti without seeing it.

I catch a taxi afterwards and stop by the local Western grocery store, U-Turn (I call it “U-Haul”), to pick up a few things the Crew has requested: milk, coffee, peanut butter, chocolate. I can’t find any peanut butter, but I do get a jar of orange marmalade, since one of the mamas has just baked us a loaf of fresh bread—it was even delivered warm. I think about getting some ice cream, but it’s a good half hour back out to Shadi, and it’s rush hour (yep, they have one), and I’m just not sure I can deliver it in anything resembling solid form. So not this time.

The taxi drops me at the main gate at 6:30, and the kitchen staff have kindly saved me some supper of ugali, beef, and pineapple. Then it’s off to house devotions, where I talk about some things God gives to those who believe in Jesus: specifically, the ability to understand the Bible, and conviction of sin. If the Bible is meaningless to you, and if you lie to me and smile when you get caught, well, then, maybe you need to ask yourself whether you’ve believed. I can tell that one of the boys is listening closely; others are apathetic; and of course some are too young to make much sense of all of this. You sow, you water, and you pray that one day God will give the increase.

Team devotions consists mostly of reports of the day’s interactions with students, and some mutual edification on the whole matter of patience—which, as it happens, was Lora’s topic for girls’ house devotions tonight. (They’re doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit.) We all feel a little of “Physician, heal thyself.”

Some web time on Beth’s porch, and then we shut it all down at 9:30. Sleep does a body good.

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Dan Olinger

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

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