Sunday, March 15, 2015

“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” — Khalil Gibran

In the midst of the poverty, disease, death, and all the problems that come from living in one of the poorest countries in the world—there are little pleasures, every single day.  The laughter of children, the antics of a small dog, the excitement of my son’s creating a solar powered robot made with Legos—all these bring smiles to our faces.  For me, today brought a special pleasure.  I have been a fan of Formula One racing since I was in junior high school in the late 50’s.  I followed the careers of Phil Hill, Nigel Mansel, Nikki Lauda, and other famous race drivers from the 50’s to the present.  One would think that following Formula One racing would be next to impossible in a developing country in equatorial Africa, but thanks to a huge sports satellite network in South Africa, we are able to get satellite feeds of every single Formula One race, live, as it happens, from wherever they are racing—Mexico to Monaco to Malaysia.  I have been a supporter of Lewis Hamilton from his very beginnings in the sport as he worked his way up from a working-class background to become the world champion last year for the second time.  My oldest son is also a big fan as are my Canadian and German missionary friends, so I have people to talk to about it.  Today was the first race of the 2015 season from Melbourne, Australia, and I have many Australian friends which adds enjoyment.  Hamilton won the pole position yesterday in qualifying (also got to watch that) and won the race today to begin the year in first place.  If he goes on to win the world championship for the third time this year, he will be only the second Briton to do it, joining Sir Jackie Stewart whom Hamilton has already passed as having more victories than any other racer from the U.K.  When we lived in Los Angeles, I was able to see two Formula One races in person, seeing many of my racing heroes live.  I took Karen to the first race, but she spent the entire time in the ladies’ room with her hands over her ears (something about the high-pitched whine of the engines).  While I don’t have much to get excited about at my age and in my physical condition, here in the African bush, I can see every single Formula One race live in my own living room, and, of course, read even more about it on the internet.  For the next nine months, I will be living from race to race.  There are so many things that can go wrong from mechanical problems to physical ones, that there are never any guarantees that the guy you like is going to win.  At this race last year, a tiny mechanical problem knocked Hamilton completely out of the race, and he started the year in a big hole in terms of championship points, but he pulled it out in the end.  We don’t have fast food, grocery stores, consistent electricity, or good medical care, but at least we can get Formula One races (if the power goes out, we have a generator to keep things going).  We had to move up to a Tivo-like satellite receiver when our last one died, but that gave us the ability to record the races even while we are switching over to the generator when the power goes out.  Every time you see a news item about a Formula One race, you can smile because it reminds you that even African missionaries are afforded small pleasures thanks to satellites, generators, and the ability to record sports events.  Not much of a blog, I know, but I wanted you to know that today I am happy, and am always looking forward to the next race.  Who knew?
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