Monday, June 15, 2009

Flying




We take flying for granted. A magical act suspended in the steely strength of physics. Oh, that it could be without steel and combustion. Except then it would depend on me, wouldn't it? Think of the exhaustion of those poor birds migrating from North to South America. Or London and Ireland. With my sister and neices and other school mates and parents. Let me tell you--it's wonderful in a million ways you wouldn't expect. Please let it be that way for the birds as well (not pure instinct).

I have a bad habit of immitating the accent and speech of those around me. I sit wuith Kathy from MinnesOHta and in no time I am talking MinnesOHtan. Still haven't lost the yeahyeahyeah (said quietly as both agreement and as listening sounds) or calling water WAH TAH from the Kenya trip. Forgive me ahead of time for whatever embarassing twang I bring back from the Isles.

More on Kenya when I return two weeks hence.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hospital

Hard to say exactly what a trip to Africa does to the heart. A blade of understanding, thin and keen, slips into the chest. The autogenic movement of the cardiac organ is all the momentum it takes to sever the wide wilderness of all I think I know. A panic of blood separates itself from the usual routes, all but invisible to you...


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A hospital. Those who should not wait, tarry too long in coming. My camera intrudes like a knife. Makes permanent both hope and despair.
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Doctors and nurses smile and work hard, doing what they can with nothing and with God.
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Meals, laundry, these are the patient’s family’s responsibility. There are two nurses where there should be twenty. But there is palpable optimism. Is it those ever straight backs that make the difference? Backbone.
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Essentials: respect. Everyone is given respect. Prayer. Everyone wants prayer—even the Muslim man. I thought to mention only God by name in my prayer, I knowingly left the word Jesus out of it (even though Muslims call Jesus a prophet). I dodged around in my brain amidst the prayer trying to catch wind of the Holy Spirit, trying to be conscious of the authority given me, In Jesus name… I punctuate the prayer. It couldn’t be helped or stopped. Lord, what does this mean? To him? To me?
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We are not expected to wring our hands when we see want.
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Here they do what they can, dutiful stewards, diligent servants, in an imperfect world.
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They trust the Spirit for the lack. Give a cup of cool water...
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to the poorest of poor.
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Tis the only reason I don’t bleed to death from being there.
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Not perfect grace, grace perfected.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Faces



Let the story begin with a hero. Meet Ken the driller. Ken is a Kenyan educated in the US (earning both bachelors and masters degrees). After working in the US for ten years, he sold everything, cashed in his 401's, bought the best drill rig he could find and has been drilling wells in Kenya ever since. Says it was the best decision he ever made. Oh yes, he loves the Lord.






Children. Everywhere giggling children having fun, children wanting to touch our hands--a sign of respect.





The next generation. Watching the mzungus (white people).





A straight back and water. Water, it's all about water.





Well no, not always about water. Life and death. Birth--nothing can compare to the joy.





A fist full of bread and a sister who feeds you first.






The end of the rainy season afternoon downpour. I remember walking in the gutters back home as they flooded down the street. We are not so different after all.







Children caring for children--it is not burdensome to them, it's just what needs to be done. We passed out bread to the children. this little girl tore hers in half, passing back to her sister the larger porton.





School costs money. They proudly wear uniforms. More boys than girls finish school.





It is an honor and privilege to go to school.






Grace. Grace lost her husband, Willis, about a month ago to long term malarial complications. Daniel (6) and Emmanuel (3) are fatherless now. Grace is David's go-to person in Homa Bay near Adiedo. Tirelessly working for Spring of Hope as well as working as a social worker, Grace is Grace embodied. A living definition of the word.






David's father. The one person I most wanted to see the well. Thank you, Lord.







Adiedo Village. They want to talk to us, but don't know English. They all know the words, AMEN and HALLELUIA. The essentials. We have a rival of smiles.






One of the old "mamas" in the village. Mama is the word they use for any woman past adolescence.







David Opap's sister Esther. Oh, we love that lady from the last trip to Africa. She has a small shop in Nairobi. Esther travels to Adiedo and makes sure that the food they prepare for us in the village won't make us sick. So much more than a cook, she is one of the essential people that David counts on to do what he can't do from America. Like David, when she laughs she laughs until she cries, wiping the tears with a corner of her collar.




The teacher tells a student to recite for us. Fear locks eyes with duty.





The young and the old and the missing generation. AIDS. These children performed a play for us. AIDS being a haughty boastful boy who was in the end defeated--not by a condom, but by faith (doing what is right).
Doing what is right.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More than Words







Busy people want the three minute explanation of a trip to Africa.

See those rays breaking through the storm?

What was it like, they want to know. Look at my face, I say.

Even if Moses told everything he saw on the mountain, recalled for us every nuance of detail, the crinkle of crow’s feet cornering God's eyes, the twinkle of iris against the pool of His pupil, the sound of God writing on the stones, it would not even in the slightest way begin to describe being in the presence of Almighty God.

See that shaft of light? That is my trip. I hope it frightens you just a bit.

I cannot tell you what the presence of God is like, but I do know I have a larger idea of what the psalmist was saying in Psalm 62 when he said: One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.

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