On TheJourney . . . walking the red dirt roads of East Africa
updated on Sunday, 17 Feb2013
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Praying for us this week:
- Our KiSwahili language studies. Becoming conversant in the heart languages of people opens so many doors. Pray that we will be good stewards of our time and classes.
- Upcoming Kenyan national election on March 4. Our school will close down for the week and we’ll go to our future home in Uganda. Pray for peace and unity after the election. How the country reacts to this election (they had violence and chaos after the previous election.) will chart the future for this country we’ve grown to love.
- “Bert and Ernie”*, two guards I met last week. Pray that DeDe and I will share the Good News with those in our “Life Space” this week. *Read more below
Latest blog entry:
Bribed and Floored
“Where in the world is that English girl I promised I would meet on the third floor.”
From “London Homesick Blues” by Gary P. Nunn
You Tube version of London Homesick Blues by Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker
It all takes getting used to. Africa. Kenya with its British ways mixed into a bubbling dish served with East Africa ways. I smile when a tall dark Kenyan opens his mouth and “British English” flows smoothly out.
They have a hard time with my “strong Southern accent” whether in English or KiSwahili. That’s what one national said, “Bwana (Mister) you have a verrrrry strong accent.”
Whether it’s a compliment or not, it’s who I am.
Another British way is how they number floors on a house/business. (That’s where the lyrics from London Homesick Blues come from. It’s the theme song from “Austin City Limits” as in “I wanna go home with the armadillos…”)
For instance, the first floor is “the ground floor.” A local mall has a lower ground floor, ground floor, and the first floor. It’s actually the third floor. That’s explains the homesick Texan’s lament, “Where in the world is that English girl I promised to meet on the third floor?”
We know where she’s at. Still waiting on the fourth (or fifth) floor.
This week, I made a daring car trip into Central Nairobi. No lights, just right. Every man for himself and the shy driver gets boxed in. I grew up twenty miles from the nearest traffic light. No big deal. Folks in Nairobi can say the same thing about most of their city of 2 million plus.
My car trip was to a hardware store. I’m looking for Coleman gas for my backpacking stove. (If anyone knows where some is in Central Kenya, let me know. It goes by “white gas/naptha/namna ya mafuta mepesi.” Plenty of kerosene by no Coleman fuel.)
I pulled in the driveway of the building housing the hardware store. Thank you Lord for Google Maps. Of course, I pulled in the exit drive (no signs) and the guard motioned me to back out onto the street.
Impossible. I tried to give him my saddest look. Even said, “I’m just a dumb American trying to figure things out.” No luck. He kept waving me back out into the fray.
A second guard walked over and took charge. “Baba, you follow me.” He directed me to an angled narrow parking space and guided me in.
“Assante sana, bwana. Can you tell me where the hardware store is?”
He nodded. “On the first floor.” He lowered his voice. “Baba (father) will you buy me something?”
“What do you want?”
“Anything from the store.” He didn’t say more, but I knew he was adding non-verbally, “Get me something for helping you.”
I glanced back at the car-packed street. “Sure, I’ll get you something.”
I hurried into the building making an entire circuit looking for the hardware store on the first floor. No luck at all.
Then I remembered where I was and climbed the stairs to the first floor.
The hardware store was helpful but didn’t know what white gas/Coleman fuel was. My sketch didn’t help.
I looked for a coke machine to buy something for my guard. Nothing.
I went back downstairs to the first… I mean ground floor… searching for a cold drink. A bank. An electronics store. Shoe shine boys. No cokes.
Then I saw the liquor store. Walking to the entrance, I saw everything but cold drinks. I walked in and there was a cold drink box. Different African sodas and Fanta. Fanta (they say it ‘F ahn ta’) orange. It’s an African favorite. I bought two.
The Asian cashier eyed me carefully as she put my drinks in a paper bag with the store’s logo.
I found my savior guard near my car. His eyes lit up when I pointed at him and the bag I held. His disappointment was keen when I pulled two Fanta Oranges out. I nearly laughed out loud.
He recovered with “Assante Sana, Bwana” and took the bottles. He shared one with his other guard friend. They helped me back out and ran interference to get me back into the traffic.
They waved as the new Mzungu (white man) crept along in his old white car (We don’t call it “The Creeker” for nothing.)
I had no luck at the hardware store but made two friends.
I’d paid my first Kenyan bribe (or tip as they politely call it) and felt all right about it.
Seriously, our job here is the same it’s been back home. Planting seeds. One seed at a time. One smile at a time. One life at a time.
Building bridges of friendship so we earn the right to talk about the reason we’re here: to brag on the Bwana Yesu Cristo. ( The Lord Jesus Christ.)
I’m going to find a reason to visit those two guards again. Build a bridge. Work on my Swahili. Share a story. Share the truth.
I’m naming them Bert and Ernie.*
Why don’t you join me in praying for them?
*Bert and Ernie were/are the beloved Muppets. Do you know what movie that Jim Henson got their names from? What vocations did these original “Bert/Ernie” play in the movie. Free copy of ‘Christmas Jelly’ to the first correct answer on 1. The movie title 2. The jobs Bert and Ernie had.
Reply to this Creekbank Link firstname.lastname@example.org with “Bert and Ernie” in the subject line.
Chris Ayers won the contest with the correct answer: Bert and Ernie played the cop and taxi driver in Jimmy Stewart’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I watch it each Christmas and always have a good cry at the end.
We always love hearing from our friends. Email us at email@example.com
Why we are on TheJourney in Africa:
DeDe and I are simply walking along the path we’ve followed since giving our lives and hearts to Jesus. Because He is our Lord (Boss) and Savior, we seek to be where He wants us to be. For this stage of our journey, Africa is the place.
Our job is to serve on our Mission’s Embrace Team.
My word for this week is Gratitude. I wish to live the gratitude-filled life. To be thankful for each and every blessing, challenge, and opportunity.
My current favorite Swahili term/word: Kipe Moyo! Take heart!
Read Curt’s Current Six Words to live by http://www.creekbank.net/2012/10/curts-current-six-words/
Where we are now:
Brackenhurst is a former British golf course now owned by Southern Baptists.
It’s coordinates are 1 degree south of the Equator. Due to that, this is considered summer, although the day length seldom changes.
Our current elevation is 7800 feet above sea level.
- My Life Verse is, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 See this verse in various translations. http://www.creekbank.net/2012/10/matthew-633-a-verse-to-live-by
- MyLife Statement: “To be a man God can use and be respected by my wife DeDe, our sons, and their precious families.”
- Curt’s Current Life Plan: http://www.creekbank.net/curts-life-plan/
- I invite you to read What Matters Most to Curt or longer version: My LifeJourney Story
What I’m currently reading:
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin
Mau Mau and Kenya: Analysis of a Peasant Revolt by Wunybari Maloba
My current Heartsong “How Firm a Foundation.” It’s a song that gives me great strength in the trials, struggles, and joys of life.
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