Monday, October 13th From the team
We’ve been here long enough now that things are seeming more normal to us. Nothing unusual about a canoe full of goats going by in the morning. No big deal to sit in a church service with over 900 people for 4 hours. Crocodile for dinner? No problem. A long “shower” is five cups of water instead of two. Generator’s on....plug your phones in! Generators off….get out your flashlights. Welcome gift of sugar cane and “stunned” chicken…we accept. Ants in the bed…just roll over and get them out in the morning. Long skirts and pants in equator heat…the norm (no shorts and tank tops here). Air conditioning?....what is air conditioning? It’s the breeze from the river that we periodically get. Bats in your room…just call Papa Jean and he’ll get it with a sugar cane stalk. Quiet nights of sleep…never! There are hundreds of people chanting and singing all night long.
While touring the Bolenge hospital today we could look out the open air windows and see men clearing the juggle with machetes….normal. A woman walking down a dirt road with loads of anything balanced on her head with a baby strapped to her back….normal.
Normal is children coming up to us calling “Mondele” (pronounced mon deli). Their word for white skinned. Most of them enjoy their picture being taken but some are scared of us. Today I had a moment when I was talking with teenage girls while we were goofing off posing for the camera. I would make a girly pose and they would copy. The younger children all around us burst out laughing. This was at the drill site in a rural area and they were gathered around to watch the drilling. This is all normal.
But as we become accustomed to these unusual sights and sounds the people here are becoming ever more dear to us. We continue to see their situation as not hopeless but difficult. As we adjust, we see that they are not unhappy but indeed joyful, we don’t feel sorry for them but our desire to help them have a better life is increased.
And they can help us….help us become even more faithful to God in all circumstances. Teach us to be joyful and loving no matter what our living conditions. (Oh dear, the dishwasher broke, the air conditioning is out, the car needs to go to the shop….we have no idea how good we have it!) Could you praise God for 4 hours every Sunday? Can you give your last $5 dollars to the church? (translate…your last paycheck that is needed to pay bills.) Do you have this much faith in God? We have much to learn to be….normal.