As you have probably figured out by now, things in Africa don’t always go according to plan. As they say, the three most important qualities in a missionary after faith in God are flexibility, flexibility and flexibility.
Wednesday was my last day at Arebaokeng. “When are you going to bring the children some sweets?” I was asked. My last day seemed like a good time.
The usual classroom at Arebaokeng had been taken over for a business seminar. I usually take the children to the steps outside where there is a nice breeze, but we couldn’t meet just outside the open classroom door on a hot day with others studying inside. We ended up sharing an echoing room where the high school kids were doing homework. There was also an open passage to the pre-schoolers’ room with no door to close between. The noise was like the school gym the night of the basketball tournament finals.
The library books I had brought went quickly. Even some of the high school kids picked them up and flipped through. (I explained to them that we had been talking about life as a journey and how important it was to make right choices along the way. Who knows? Maybe one of them would get the message too.)
Someone handed out the marshmallows, and some of the books no doubt got sticky. I figured I should at least try a lesson. I handed the words to Proverbs 3:6 to a girl and to Ephesians 5:15 to a boy. My idea was to have a competition, boys against the girls, to see who could arrange their verse first, but no one could hear my instructions over the hubbub. The words got handed out indiscriminately, and I ended up with children milling around waving their bits of verse proudly at me. As I tried to arrange them into two lines (rather like herding cats), I could hear someone behind me saying, “In all your ways… In all your ways…” but he never got farther than that. Eventually, I had two lines facing each other (although half the word signs were upside down or otherwise unreadable), and we read the verses a couple times.
I said my good-byes and left, feeling a bit sorry for the young, shell-shocked-looking volunteer who had just arrived for two months, which I presume she will spend daily in this confusion. I have to trust God that something from my month of visits will remain with these children and help them to make wise choices tomorrow. Next year…