Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sleeping in is a wonderful thing—provided the roosters and the children will allow it. The roosters do their thing as usual, and one of the children is at the window next to the bunk pestering Jonathan to come out and play. Jonathan says something to the effect of “MMfrpghsyttttt.”

Shortly after I arrive at the house they bring one of the boys by. He fell out of bed this morning, landing on the back of his head on the concrete floor. He’s got a bump about 2 inches in diameter and protruding an inch from his scalp. Must have been quite a landing. Mama Nursi is off compound, having taken another child to the hospital for a regularly scheduled checkup, so it’s up to me and Sarah, EMTs with not a whole lot of experience. No laceration, so no external bleeding. He knows who he is, but not what day it is—but then, most kids here don’t know what day it is. In the States we always ask who the President of the US is, but that doesn’t seem useful here either. I grab my cell phone and use the flashlight to check pupillary response, and for the first time my life, I’m looking at eyes that are so dark I can’t clearly distinguish the pupil from the iris. After several attempts I’m pretty sure I see contraction, so that’s good. I ask him if he feels nauseated; he doesn’t know the word. I mimic vomiting; he understands and says no. Dizzy? Eh? So I pretend to be dizzy. Nope, that’s not a problem. Just the head hurts. All we have for pain is extra strength acetaminophen, which is too strong a dose for someone his age.

So what would you do? Either he’s fine—maybe a mild concussion—or perhaps there’s intracranial hemorrhage. If we take him to the hospital, it’s unlikely they could do anything for the latter—if they even have the equipment to detect it—and it’s equally likely that he’d pick up staph or something else there. So we tell him no games; stay in the kibanda with the mamas and rest. We watch him throughout the day, and he seems to be returning to normal.

Beth has arranged for some local artisans to come by and set up a little craft fair for us. In years past there’s been a big one downtown at the yacht club, but for some reason we didn’t get a shot at it this time, so we’re having our own. I’m a little nervous—I hope our kids can buy enough to make it worthwhile for these folks to bring their wares out to show.

During chai Rachelle tells us that the artisans are here, setting up on Beth’s porch. We go down to take a look. There are wood carvings, baskets, paintings, hand-drawn stationery, fabrics, fabric bags, drums, knives, and other miscellaneous stuff. Jojo sees the drums and buys two immediately. That was easy to predict. Everybody buys a respectable amount, and I even buy some things, which is unusual for me. There’s a hand-carved wooden globe—I’m a sucker for geography—and some nice wall hangings for the office. It appears that the vendors consider the sales volume worthwhile for the trip, so I’m relieved.

Back up the hill to the kibanda, where we blow the air horn to call the children together for “God and I Time.” Sarah, the house inspector for camp, says everyone’s done very well with chores, so the points system is off to a flying start. Now the Crew shepherd them through personal devotions—the older kids are on their own in the assigned passage, and the little ones are in groups with team members.

Lunch is baked potatoes ‘n’ fixin’s—as American as apple pie.

To begin game time—we’re a little late, delayed by cleanup after lunch—we introduce the 5 teams (for the 5 Olympic rings) and their captains. Then it’s on to the competition, for the glory of sport. Today’s competition is “The Cat in the Hat,” which is basically a variant on Musical Chairs, so we send all the children off to get chairs and bring them to the football field. That goes surprisingly well. We set up 2 circles, one for older children, and one for younger (so the little ones won’t get massacred during the scramble for seats). Sarah reads the story, and chaos—the good kind—ensues. We play for nearly an hour, with no serious injuries, and nothing major to complain about.

There’s free time until supper, which we encourage the children to use to work on their memory verses, which many do. Supper is rice and beans—bet you saw that coming—with pineapple and a special treat, mango.

Just before supper Jojo heads down to Beth’s porch. His grandfather’s graveside service is at 11 am in New Jersey, which is 6 pm here. We’ve arranged to clear the internet access of all other traffic so he can do a video chat with those who are there. The connection works well, and he is able to talk to several relatives as well as read Scripture during the brief service. It’s remarkable that he’s able to do that from all the way over here. And it helps to ease the pain of being here when he’d much rather be there.

After team devotions we spend a couple hours finalizing plans for tomorrow’s skits; we’re going to have a “fun time” after the game time. A couple of the skits the children have seen before from earlier teams, but we know that they’ll enjoy it just as much a third or even fourth time.

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Dan Olinger

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

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