Friday, June 17, 2016

Last day of class for the week. Yesterday 2 or 3 boys were quite late to Lora’s class; they told her they had to shower. Hmmm. We all know how devoted middle-school boys are to their own personal hygiene, but it seems odd that they would need to shower just as class is beginning. I’ve told her I’ll position myself in the wash area of the older boys’ house this morning just before 9 and see what happens.

It’s all quiet when I get there at 5 till. At 3 till the back door bursts open and 5 boys pile in—4 of Lora’s and one older one. “What are you doing here?” “We are going to wash our bodies.” “Not when you’re supposed to be in class, you’re not. Off to class you go.” And they do. I check again before the second session, and the showers have no demand for business. Looks like we cut off that excuse, but I’ll do this again Monday to be sure.

During the first session Sarah takes one of her students on a walk as a reward for doing well. As they approach the reeds down by the lake, they see one of the mamas, who calls them over. They’re approaching her as Sarah spots the crocodile lying in the reeds.

Crocs are among the most dangerous animals in Africa. They’re fast and violent, and if you’re near water, they’re right in their element. The first rule of crocs is to move as fast as you can in the other direction. Sarah’s in the act of grabbing the boy and running for it when the mama calls her back.

“He’s dead,” she says. And she reaches down and touches it. And shows her the wound that killed him. So they go back to it, and the child gets to put his hand on a real, dead croc. Photos and everything.

During chai Sarah has a grand time showing the photos and telling the story. She wins for best class experience of the morning.

We’re on our own for lunch today, it being Friday. We finish off some soup and some watermelon, and make some chapati chips to go with our pineapple-mango salsa. It’ll do.

The kids are high-energy throughout the afternoon, especially after 2 more puppies arrive—German Shepherd / Dobermann mix, both males. Seriously cute. And they’ll be big when grown.

At suppertime Beth and Ferdinand come to a final decision on which 8 children will go with us to Serengeti tomorrow. Some with bad behavioral records are going to have to wait until next year—or maybe the year after that. 🙂 We’re all elated to learn that the staff member who’s going along is Mama Nursi, as you guessed it, the orphanage’s nurse. Yesterday I mentioned that I’m all for the Tanzanian children getting to see their national treasure; but I have to say that taking along a staff member is my favorite part, because they appreciate it so much. Ferdinand and Abeli have gone in previous years, and now it’s Mama Nursi’s turn. This is just great.

We have a lot of work to do tonight, getting food ready for tomorrow. The kitchen staff has made about 60 mandazi for chai—there are 18 of us, counting the 2 drivers—and the safari company is providing water. We’re going to have PBJ sandwiches for lunch, with bananas and a big bag of ground nuts. Beth and Rachelle have made a couple dozen cinnamon rolls as well. I think we’ll be OK. But in the meantime we have quite an assembly line going in the kitchen; everybody gets involved.

We’ve received the sad word today that Jojo’s grandfather passed away today. There is much to rejoice in: he was believer; he lived to be 96; he was living on his own, and even driving, until just 2 weeks ago; and his life was made of memories that his family will cherish for years to come. And this was not unexpected. But as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, it’s a time for grief, and we grieve with our brother and his family. We have a special time of prayer for them tonight.

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Dan Olinger

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

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