Monday, June 17, 2019

First day of the last week of tutoring.

Cheyenne’s day starts off with a bang. Out at the lake end of the guys’ house is a nice big rock with a great view of the lake, where some of the crew likes to go for devotions in the morning. Cheyenne, Abbie, Rebekah, and Blake are out there this morning, along with Dog Samuel and Clifford. Well, Clifford—how shall I say this—decides to mark Cheyenne as his special territory to start the day off right. All over her back.

The upside of this is that the day can only get better from here.

The morning sessions, which are the only ones today, go well, as does chai in between. The dogs hang around for chai, because they know the children—and sometimes the team members too—will drop them little scraps of chapati.

Speaking of dogs, I should mention that one of the dogs, Jeddah, had puppies a few days ago—6 girls, 1 boy. All have survived. They’re in a shed behind the guys’ house. We keep the door closed to protect them, and we check on them often. The other night Abbie opened the door and Jeddah took off like a shot. New moms will know exactly how she felt. But eventually they got her to go back. 🙂

Foe Bible time today, Peter speaks from Matt 6.16-34 on riches and anxiety. After he is done, we split the children up into groups with a leader from the team, and they go over the material with comprehension questions and discussion. Nice change of pace.

For some reason, several of us forget that today is Monday, when we do leftovers for lunch. We show up at Beth’s and start setting up tables on her porch. She smiles broadly and says, “You’re welcome to sit here, but we don’t have any food for you.”

Oh, yeah.

We have plenty of leftovers—cabbage, chili, cold-cut sandwiches, other odds and ends. Nobody goes hungry.

We call a dozen pikipikis for 2 pm. We’re having supper in town tonight, and we all want to go in early and do some shopping. Katie tells me how to tell the pikipiki driver “I’m last”—“Mimi kwa mpisho.” Finally, I can ride behind everybody else like I want to.

We all regather at the daladala stand, where I want us all to ride together for ease of payment, so we grab an empty one. Well, here’s the thing. When anybody else gets on, and they see all wazungu, it’s an unexpected sight. We get some hilarious reactions. One lady is carrying a baby, who finds Kat quite entertaining, smiling and cooing for most of her ride.

Off at the station, then to the ATM. Everybody gets the cash he needs except for one of the guys, who claims he’s changing banks when he gets home, after his card is rejected at ATMs at 4 different banks. But there’s no problem, I can advance him what cash he needs, and he can pay me when we get back to the States. I mention casually that I have a concealed-carry permit. And a SC SLED card. I don’t think he’ll be delinquent in repaying.

Then a block further, past the iconic fish fountain, to Gold Crest Hotel and a little visit to the coffee shop. Everybody gets a drink or a pastry. I’ve really brought them here to take them up on the roof for a panoramic view of the town, but I just feel like we should patronize the coffee shop if we’re going to do that.

The roof is 9 stories up and gives a nice view of the town. Lots of pictures.

Katie takes most of the crew to a couple of nearby shops and then down the road toward the Tilapia Hotel, where we’re eating tonight. The road is lined with souvenir shops, and they can take as much time as they want shopping and browsing.

I take two who want to get some more specialized things; we catch a taxi to the mall for those. The transactions go fairly quickly, and we catch a different taxi back. I say “Tilapia,” but about half a kilometer before we get there, we see the rest of the team walking and join them. Some of the shop owners remember me from previous years; here, if a short guy in a floppy hat shows up repeatedly with a bunch of white college students who buy lots of stuff, they tend to remember you.

A few minutes later we arrive at the Tilapia, a luxury hotel on the waterfront (suites $150 a night). There are two restaurants there; we’re going to the Teppanyaki place in a little hut hanging out over the water, with a beautiful view of the gulf.

Officially the reservation is for 5.30, but it’s designed to be a leisurely affair, besides which all the missionaries are joining us as our guests, so there are 25 of us including the little ones. So we find seats around the grills (think Japanese steak house, like Kanpai of Tokyo, but outside with a roof). Waiters take the drink orders; I’ve introduced Blake to Stoney Ginger Beer, and he gets his second (and third) of the day. A few get a lime and mint drink that looks delicious; I settle in with my usual club soda.

Then the cooks fire up the flat-top grills and go to work. A small potato cake; then, in rapid succession, shrimp, tilapia, calamari, vegetable fried rice, chicken, and finally beef. Sauces include soy, a pink pickled onion sauce, and ground nut (peanut) sauce. Use them as you wish. Then top it off with ice cream.

By now it’s dark, and while a lakeside venue is delightful in the daylight, it’s a different place at night when the lake flies come out and conveniently cluster around the lights. Time to shut this party down.

We hire a taxi for half of us, while the other half ride with Beth, and the other missionaries have their own vehicles. Battle the oncoming high beams all the way south out of town, and then battle the darkness out to Shadi, right smack in the middle of Nowhere.

We’re tired. A few cursory remarks as follow-up and an encouragement to get some sleep.

And to bed. Back to a full class schedule tomorrow.

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Dan Olinger

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

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