Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Back from Hong Kong

Yeah, that's right, I went to Hong Kong. "So soon after Kenya?" you might ask. Yeah , the jet lag is killing me. My poor body doesn't know when to be awake and when to be asleep, kind of like SpookyRach, I guess. It was REALLY hot and humid. Cat and I went with the handbell choir from my church. We played about 8 concerts, some of which were outside. In the middle of the day. When it was REALLY hot and humid. (Did I mention that?) We were sweating in places that we didn't know had sweat glands. There were some unusual uses of antiperspirant, I can tell you. Even the bells sweated (see photo).
But we met some really wonderful people. Little kids wanted to ring the bells. One old man sat on the ground and clapped loudly. When the director was announcing the next song. (I suspect his soup was short a wonton or two, if you get my drift.) And then there was Kristen from Alabama who was there helping a church youth group and Ann the Philippina maid who came to see us often even though she lived an hour away by bus, train, and foot. All of us got gooosebumps when the congregation of the Kowloon International Baptist Church began singing "Shout to the Lord" while we were playing it. No one asked them to, they just felt that was the best thing to do. And they were right.
Next post I will put a photo of Hong Kong harbor or maybe the night market. Or maybe both.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Curious warthog

Here's a warthog gazing at Americans on safari. Perhaps he is stunned or fascinated by their hideous visages. We were entertained by his.

Out of Africa

Cat and I went to Kenya at the end of May and stayed through the middle of June. We were part of a team of fourteen from my church that went to help complete the construction of a building. The building is a residence for women students of the Kenya Baptist Theological College in Limuru.
None of us are professional tradesmen; we are just Americans, so when there is a task at hand, we ask, "How can I learn to do that?" That is not the Kenyan way. In Kenya, people do the work for which they are trained. A butcher with a stuck doorknob calls someone to fix it. He does not start meddling around with him screwdriver. So when our non-professional team arrived to work with fourteen Kenyan skilled laborers, it took some adjustment.They thought we were going to tell them what to do and we thought they would tell us what to do. Eventually we got past being deferential and began to enjoy learning from one another and joking with each other.
Francis, a devoted Christian, was the Kenyan foreman. Here's an example of his way with me (whom he addressed as "Bwana").
"Bwana David, it is getting late now; we are almost at the end of the day. I was going to suggest that you might spend your time working on the wardrobes rather than cutting this trim, because we can do that ourselves. But it is too late in the day to suggest that, so I will not suggest that you work on the wardrobes. Is that OK?" By this Francis was telling me that he would much prefer me to complete the wardrobes, but he did not want to boss me around. I promptly attended to the wardrobes.
I will have more to say about the Kenya trip. Let me close this entry with the observation that the Kenyan workers gathered each morning before the start of the day to stand in a circle holding hands and to pray. They thanked God that he had given them the opportunity to work on this building. They prayed that they would carry out their responsibilities with integrity. They prayed for their brothers and sisters from America who had come all this way to work together with them. I do not doubt that they are praying for us now that we have returned. They know what prayer is about.