Wednesday, June 15, 2016

As the Crew heads off to their first session, we’re all interested in seeing what kind of response the older children will have to The Nuclear Option. During my rounds things seems to be going well; as the team returns I ask how things went. Everybody’s got a story; all the students are greeting them in English, responding when they’re called on, offering to help carry things. The Grapevine is pretty active here—that’s something else we’ve tried to address—and apparently the younger children have gotten the gist of the meeting with the older ones. I tell the group I’m a Shangazi-millennialist; Shangazi speaks to the children, and the Millennium starts. (The children call Beth Shangazi, the Swahili word for “aunt.”) We all laugh, because we all know I’m kidding. We’ll see if the children can make it through just the 3 days before the safari. The second session goes similarly well.

Before lunch the girls decide to walk down the road 300 meters or so to a little duka (shop) and buy some sodas for lunch. Dog Samuel and I go along as bodyguards. We get a dozen sodas in plastic bottles (that means we can take them with us; you have to drink the glass ones there) for about 5 bucks, and Dog Samuel gets to chase another dog into the bushes, so we all feel like it’s a pretty successful trip.

For lunch Beth and Rachelle have prepared custom pizzas: Jojo & Lora get salami and bacon; Jonathan and Rachael get ham and pineapple; Sarah and Bethany get bacon and cheese. When placing our orders yesterday, I joked that I wanted anchovies—I really do like them, but I imagine they’re a bit of a specialty item around here—and then I tell ‘em to surprise me. I really do like to eat pretty much anything, as long as it’s not eggplant. So with a flourish they present an actual anchovy pizza; they had to run to town yesterday for some other matters and made a quick stop by U-Turn. How about that.

The pizza is delicious. And the orange soda is icing on the cake.

Or something.

After lunch we sit around and fellowship for a while, while Lora works on cleanup. Then it’s off to necessaries: class prep, naps, whatever.

In the TMI department: I’ve found that it’s a little cool for a shower first thing in the morning  here, so I’ve taken to getting one in the heat of the day. Two advantages: 1) thanks to the black plastic holding tank, the water’s a smidgeon warmer after a day in the sun, and 2) since the air’s warm—I’d even call it approaching hot the last few days—the cool water is more refreshing than it would be earlier. Midday oasis.

This next item may seem trivial, but it’s a useful illustration. In an effort to keep children from completely destroying the grass on the compound, the staff has put rocks along the pathways to define them clearly, as well as running some plastic cord as a sort of fence to keep kids from cutting across the grass. The fence is not a very substantial structure, and every so often it needs to be put back up. This afternoon seemed like a good time. But before we could re-string, we needed to untangle the cord, which looked like every fisherman’s nightmare “bird’s nest.” Believe it or not, it takes 3 people most of 2 hours just to untangle the cord. Having children and dogs running through the work area doesn’t make it any more efficient.

Pretty much everything takes longer than you think it will. You stand in line. Things don’t work. You shrug and try again later. Life in the developing world.

House devotions goes pretty well after supper; then we report to Beth’s porch for online time, where we decide to have team devotions as well, since several of the Crew are planning to return there to work on a photo collage poster afterwards. So basically we spend the evening there.

During team devotions we share testimonies. We’re all learning things—about how ineffectively we handle routine, if nothing else. One story is particularly encouraging. Jojo has had an opportunity to disciple one of the boys here very directly; it seems to me that Jojo, with all his life experiences, is providentially here specifically to help this young man. I suspect there will be more opportunities in the week and a half that we have left.

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Dan Olinger

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

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