Easter in Africa...
I didn't quite understand Pastor's genius until I was 20 mins out of Brikama*; they don't call the place H.ouse o.f W.isdom for nothing. Louring me with the thought of a weekend away and a chance to drive his sweet Toyota Land Cruiser** to the E.C.G.*** Easter conference. How could I refuse? Granted at the time there was little mention of the 20 kids that would be loaded in the back but, it was too late to turn back all I could do was admire the brilliance.
Hot and "rustic" Kampant is Africa turned up a few notches. Although the Easter retreat is a family camp this year many parents chose to stay at home and elected instead to send all their kids as representatives. The foreigners were indited to manage the chaos.
The kids run wild juiced up of Cashew fruit and free of pants and parental control. With the heat and number of Gambian men who snore sleep is found in the back of the Land Cruiser or outside on open walkways. Meals test one's survival skills; 20 large bowls appear in the eating area, a prayer is said then 4 hours arduous cooking is turned over to the wrath of 300 mouths with right hands as utensils. It is really a germ-a-phob's worst nightmare****. However, all said as with most things African, the camp runs remarkably smoothly and everyone enjoys themselves.
The highlight of the weekend for me was the baptisms in the Gambian River. A 2km walk through the river flood plains, the community broke into song as 5 people gave testimonies and publicly declaring their dedication to Christ, a decision that often comes at a huge cost. It is a humbling example to see people with such strong virtue and conviction.
After Sunday service and lunch we packed 20 kids into the old Land Cruiser and followed the sun back to the cool ocean breeze of the Kombos.
Back in S.ukuta this week we are putting our hands back to work - the retrofit of the banana irrigation project is completed and we are trying to a to germinate over 1000 mahogany seeds that we gathered from the bush over the weekend.
Thanks for reading and for all who have sent notes sorry I don't always have time to write back. I miss you all.
* Brikama - The last major city before leaving the Kombos (South River Coastal region)
** the Land Cruiser served many years as the WEC's Sibanor Clinic ambulance. On the way home it decided to re-visit its history as two of my passengers fell quite ill. I'd like to blame the roads as opposed to my driving but regardless I made up for it when I got home by making a few calls and a special run to the only open pharmacy in Banjul to get full prescriptions for an abscessed tooth and an epic case of menstrual cramps.
*** Evangelical Church of The Gambia
**** If Norwalk or H1N1 ever made its way here... I honestly believe it is the grace of God that keeps everyone healthy in Africa.