Tuesday, September 8, 2015

“No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery and foreign goodwill.” ― Barbara Kingsolver (author of “The Poisonwood Bible” which I highly recommend)

Every day we still see things we thought were very exotic when we first arrived over ten years ago, but are normal now.  We are used to seeing women walking with heavy loads on their heads, women wearing colorful kangas, cattle and goats making their way past our fence on the way to water, children in their school uniforms heading for school while it is still dark, watching our neighbors make bricks from the mud in their yard, seeing children carrying firewood to school, and hearing both the Muslim call to prayer and the clanging of the prayer gong for the nuns in the nearby convent every morning at five o’clock.  Strange that we can hear both at the same time, but stranger still for me to be up at that time.  Maybe they don’t do it every day, I couldn’t tell you.  Just driving into town we pass donkeys loaded with rice, bicycles carrying sugarcane, and children pushing a hoop with a stick just for fun.  The market still sells food the same way it has for centuries, and you still have to clean and wash it when you get home.  Everything we eat is free range, organic, and free of preservatives and chemicals.  I have to be careful when I eat in the U.S. because the change is so great I get sick easily.  We have become accustomed to the food, although John has taught many women how to cook traditional foods in new ways.  We know it is a hit when they say, “You could sell this in town!” which is about the highest compliment they can pay.  Our clothes are air-dried on a line that has to be under shade or the sun here will fade everything in no time.  It’s not a bad life at all.  We feed and educate orphans every day, advance the Kingdom, help with the church, give goats once a month, train teachers, and, of course, John is hard at work on the solar project.  They have quite a few customers now and are starting to encounter problems they didn’t anticipate, but none they haven’t been able to solve.  Poverty and disease still surrounds us.  Our workers still lose family members all too often, and it is not unusual for two at a time to be out with malaria.  We do get the news here and can see many, many places in the world where things are so much worse.  Wars and refugees fleeing them make us appreciate where we are.  We do have to plan for violence around the national elections, but that’s only once every five years and is avoidable.  We just hole up for about a week or two till things settle down.  There are seldom any violent problems here in Bunda, but you never know.  Well, that’s the word from our part of East Africa for today.

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