Monday, June 20, 2016

The new puppies are being kept in a fenced area behind the Big House, and they don’t like it. By 6 am they’re yelping and crying as though they’re the most neglected animals in the world, and they’re right outside the girls’ bedroom window. They woke the girls up early yesterday, and from our house I can hear that they’re doing it again this morning. Eventually they’ll be moved to the kennel, down the hill from our house and in an out-of-the-way corner of the property, but for now they’re a little too young to be boarding regularly with the big dogs, and besides that there are some small holes in the kennel that render it unable to contain the little guys, and the staff hasn’t had time to patch them up (the holes, not the little guys).

I’m up around 7—that’s midnight Eastern time, but it sure doesn’t feel like it—and do the morning routine. This will be a challenging week; we have tutoring sessions just Monday and Tuesday, but we’ll be doing a day camp structure on Wednesday and Thursday, and we’ll need to do some planning and organizing for that over the next couple of days. In addition, Dan’s parents are arriving for a 2-week visit tomorrow, and I’ll need to move out of my place and in with the other 2 guys for the rest of the week. Plus there’s planning and team preparation to do for next week’s new responsibilities in Cape Town. So no sitting around for the present.

At HQ at 8.45, the Crew is ready for their next-to-last day of tutoring. Bethany in particular is ready; for some reason she had it in her head that classes start at 8—despite a week and a half of starting at 9—and so she had an extra hour of free time this morning. I think maybe we’re all getting a little addled.

The children are a challenge in both sessions. Another kid tried the shower routine this morning to avoid class. We don’t have the Serengeti to hold over their heads anymore, but we can use the upcoming day camp as leverage—in some ways. But in any case, the morning is a challenge.

I’m passing the office building about 11 am when I see one of the mamas carrying 2 freshly caught tilapia. I come over to see them, and she offers to sell me one for 4000 shillings. Two bucks. Deal. I start to take possession of my prize when she tells me she’ll clean it up for me. Now that’s really a good deal. Do we want it for lunch? Well, not necessary, if that’s too soon. Supper’s fine.

Leftovers for lunch. We have some PBJ sandwiches, some canned tuna fish. Some carrots, and a watermelon and a pineapple. Not only enough, but nutritionally balanced as well.

I spend the afternoon catching up on housework and getting ready for Wednesday’s move to the other apartment, as well as getting things organized for the even bigger move to Cape Town at the end of the week.

Supper is rice and beans and papaya, and our fish shows up, deep fried and chopped into serving-sized pieces. I go straight for the head—the best meat on the fish is in the cheeks—and surprisingly, the other kids don’t fight me for it. I later comment that the eyes were overcooked, and they react as you might expect. Even the team member who’s most squeamish about fish has a piece and judges it tasty. When I go back to see if any is left, there’s just one piece—you guessed it, the tail. Americans love their cooked animals, but they don’t like to be reminded that the thing was, in fact, an animal. So I munch on the tail as dessert. I guess dinner should end with The End, no?

For boys’ house devotions Jojo gives his testimony (the short version), telling about the car accident that injured the nerve in his arm and the role his rebellion played in it. The boys listen closely; they admire him for his football skills, and his warnings about the consequences of sin seem to resonate with them. I suspect that seed will need a lot of watering over the next few years, but I’d like to think that his challenge to them registers in their minds.

After team devotions I lay out the general idea of the 2-day camp we’re having on Wednesday and Thursday, and I go make popcorn while they do the detail work of planning the theme, the teams, the cheers, the schedule, the points system, the games, and so on. They’re a creative bunch; there are so many ideas popping out that they decide to have an object—a BananagramsTM  banana—that the speaker has to hold in his hand, so everybody else will let him talk.

I make a couple of bowls of popcorn—lemon pepper seasoning works really well on that, by the way—and then fix myself a cup of peppermint tea while I listen to them work. At 10.30 they’re still going, and I’m not, so I wish them lala salamah and head to bed.

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Dan Olinger

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

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