Left – Right –
Written by: The Bridge on Saturday, June 24th, 2006
On May 27, Nigeria has a holiday that they call Children’s Day. The children get all excited and eagerly await the day. All the local schools go to their local stadium where each school has a special march which they perform. The school with the best marching performance wins the honor for that year. It was quite something to see the Palmgrove school practicing days before the big event, all nicely dressed up in their school uniforms and marching in perfect time. Talitha made a whole whack of buns for the kids to eat at the marching competition. When the day finally came, they all piled into the pickup truck and drove over to the stadium, a 5 minute drive away. Palmgrove school won first prize. I asked some of the students why, and they said that they don’t have any drums when they practice and all the other schools do. That, they claim, makes a big difference. At the final performance they do use drums. After the marching competitions was over, they had some traditional African dances, that was quite incredible to see. Too bad I didn’t have a video camera along, then I would have clips to show you.
On June 2nd, we received three boxes that were sent to us via DHL. Wow! What a surprise! I’m not sure who send them, it was a contribution of various colonies, so I’ll say thank you to all of them. I’ve never seen so many good tools in a few boxes! It was truly a blessing to receive them. Paul Vetter and Eddy Vetter were so excited to see all those tools, we don’t know how we managed up till now! Also, all the bowls, Eatmore bars, pens, rubber gloves, etc, that were in the boxes. Wow! How did you manage to get so much stuff into three boxes anyway? Now Palmgrove people are coming to borrow tools to get small jobs done, so it inspired them to start fixing up small things, which they know they are capable of fixing by themselves.
Up till now we have been working on small projects. We would like to get on to major projects, but there are so many more important things to get up and running that we can’t find the time for much else. Eddy Vetter has been fixing two grinding machines which they use to grind Cassava. One electric powered grinder, for the times when there is power, and one gas powered. The Cassava is a root vegetable, it’s even more important and popular then the potato is to use. They have it at least 4 or 5 times a week in various dishes. Up till now, they had to go outside and pay to get it ground. There are just so many minor things that haven’t been maintained and looked after the last few years. We are trying to catch up with things like that before moving on to bigger projects.
The questions that Talitha and I sometimes get asked, from the young people especially, can be very challenging. How do you answer questions like, what do you do with someone who commits fornication, or what do you do with someone who no longer lives like a Christian inside the community. What makes it hard is, the context in which they ask them. I have to admit sometimes it’s hard to find the right answer. The fact of the matter is, they know their Bible better then most people I know, better then me that’s for sure. I’ve told them that too. While I’m still looking for the verse, they can quote it to me forwards and backwards! They know how to do algebra, they know how to use a hammer, they know complicated chemical formulas from science class, but very often they don’t have a clue how to apply it in real life. The same with the bible, they know it very well but, they often don’t know how it applies in real life. They have things ingrained in their culture that are very unchristian like. Just one of the examples that I could use is, it’s seen as a disgrace if a married couple can’t have children. For us, that’s not such a big issue. However, they go so far and say that the women should sleep with other men just to have children. It’s the right thing to do in their culture, now you go and teach them otherwise! If you ask them what the Bible says about it, they will quote you the verse that speaks against such practices. It’s also an excuse that they use to defend fornication. They want to make sure and get their girlfriend pregnant before they marry her, that way they know they wouldn’t be childless. I no longer wonder why Africa has such a uncontrollable level of AIDS, there are so many beliefs like that ingrained in their culture. The world would say, that they need to be educated and use condoms, but what they really need is Jesus. At the same time, I’d like to add that these practices are not as much an actual problem in Palmgrove. It’s just that the strong outside and cultural influence to an uncommitted member is very appealing to the flesh and very damaging to the soul. This is what any mission field must fight against here in Nigeria. Of course some of them, just like most young people in the world, wonder how to find the right person to marryï¿½ We’ll let you answer that one. : )