Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Remember how I said the schedule’s the same every day? Yeah, that.

Tutoring sessions go reasonably well, but the children are exhausting sometimes, and the crew is feeling it. They could use prayers for daily strength and patience.

The funny thing about it is, they still think the children are impossibly cute, but they’re feeling the full brunt of the energy required to conduct 3 tutoring sessions per day.

Jana starts Biology with some of the older kids, and the book she’s using is the one they’re going to start when they return to school after break, so she’s helping them get a bit of a head start. Today she made a cell model for them out of, um, Tupperware and fruit and ice and nuts. I have to admit, I wouldn’t have thought of that.

Lunch with the missionaries is burrito bowls, with all the fixin’s. We all go nuts. Rachelle downplays the amount of prep—“you wash the produce once, and it’s ready all week”—but there’s no denying that a lot more work goes into preparing something like this here than would be required back home.

There are lots of interesting interactions throughout the afternoon. Some of the Tumaini girls instruct ours on how to walk so that your kanga doesn’t fall off. They say Americans walk too fast and too big; we need to take smaller steps, with less swivel and more poise—as though we’re carrying something on our heads. I miss that discussion, but I get the complete replay later.

Annalee and Jess engage in some arm-wrestling with the younger boys and manage to maintain pretty good won-lost records. You have to pick your opponents carefully.

There’s a volleyball game, as there is most afternoons, and the competition is fierce. The net is a new installation since the last time a team was here, and it’s getting plenty of use.

Several of the crew take a walk down to the lake with some of the girls. You turn right out the main entrance, instead of left, as you would to go to town, and you walk down through a residential section to where the road effectively runs right into the lake. The neighbors greet you in Swahili, and you have a chance to practice your greetings. They see some fishermen pulling in their nets and gathering their catch on the shore. They even stop and visit at one of the homes, where the grown daughter of one of the mamas lives. She’s just had a baby, and the crew enjoys meeting him. or her. or whatever.

Supper is rice and beans, which certain crew members like exponentially better than the alternative ugali and fish, so there is great rejoicing in the land when the menu is announced.

After house devotions with the older boys, I spend a little time talking with one of them about life plans. He wants to be a pilot, which is what I initially wanted to be as well, so I’m able to give him some encouragement and advice. Tanzania has an air force, so maybe he can get there with the limited resources he has.

The crew sings really well during team devotions, and again I leave the house a little after 9 so they can get to bed if they want to. They’re not lazing around, that’s for sure.

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Dan Olinger

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

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