Friday, June 14, 2019

I arrive at HQ to find that we’re going to have to make another trip to the chemist. We quickly arrange the morning sessions—which are overstaffed, you’ll recall—so that everything is covered. Then the person in question, a friend of her choosing, and I set out on 3 pikipikis for The Pavement right around 9 am. I tell the driver I want to stay behind the other 2. He says, “OK,” and we take off like a shot. Apparently he doesn’t speak English, and the culture demands that he not disappoint me, so he says the one word he knows and then tries to get me to my destination as quickly as possible.

It’s my own fault for not knowing enough of the language to say what I need to say. That’s how cross-cultural ministry works.

We reassemble at The Pavement and squeeze into a daladala for the ride into town. On arriving, I ask if they’d like to hit an ATM while we’re here. I know they would—the tailor is supposed to come with their custom clothing today, and they’ll want to be ready for souvenirs at the Serengeti tomorrow.

That business done, we hit the chemist just nearby and get what The Subject needs. At that point The Friend produces a list of other medications; apparently some other team members wanted some meds as well, and she’s effectively a drug runner. Glad that worked out.

In just a few minutes we’re done and ready to head back. On the way there’s a little grocery store, Sitta, and it occurs to me that it would be helpful to get some more jam and peanut butter for the Mass Sandwich Construction Project this afternoon. Didn’t bring my backpack—that was dumb—but both the girls have bags, and a few little jars shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Then they want to get some other things—flour, sugar, oh, and a couple of sodas. Their bags are full, and I’m carrying a grocery bag full of jam and peanut butter. Hmmm. That’ll be tricky on the pikipiki. (Come to think of it, that line would make an excellent title for this entire blog series.)

Back to the terminal, grab a Sweya daladala, and off we go. We max out at over 20 passengers this time. At the Big Turn I think about hopping off and catching a bajaj the rest of the way—it would actually be cheaper—but the driver doesn’t stop long enough for me to make up my mind.

Sweya. 3 pikipikis. I hold the bag on my lap and tell the driver I want to stay behind the other two. He understands and lets them go first. Then, 100 meters or so down the road, he decides he doesn’t want to go out to Shadi and flags down another driver. I change bikes, and we’re off again.

Even a quick, successful trip is an adventure.

Back at TCH just as the 11.00 session is starting. We offload the groceries into HQ.

As we gather for lunch (leftovers, because it’s Friday, and guacamole and homemade chapati chips, because we like them) at 1, Michaela informs me that all the sandwiches are made. All 60 of ‘em. These kids are very, very good.

I do laundry and some bookwork in the afternoon. Around suppertime the tailor arrives with the dresses, skirts, and shirts the crew has ordered. They all fit pretty well, and the bright colors will fit right in at church Sunday morning.

Supper is samaki (fish)—not daga this time, but big fish, cut into steaks crosswise, unbreaded and fried in oil. Delicious.

Sam has the devotional at the boys’ house tonight. He speaks about mercy, from the Christological hymn in Phil 2, concluding with the observation that serving Christ with our lives is the only appropriate response. Which is right in line, of course, with what Paul himself concludes in Rom 12.2. One of the boys suggests that we sing “Across the Lands,” which lines up perfectly—

Yet you left the gaze of angels,
Came to seek and save the lost,
And exchanged the joy of heaven
For the anguish of the cross.

Because we’re leaving for the Serengeti at 5 am tomorrow—the earliest we’ve ever left—we’ve opted not to have the usual team meeting after house devotions. That means I don’t have my key conduit for information about the day. And that in turn means that today’s journal entry is a little bit lighter than normal. I ask your indulgence.

See you on safari tomorrow.

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Dan Olinger

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

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