Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Evening in Kama

After completing my postflight checks and securing the airplane, I find some folks who know where I'm staying and have them take me over to the house.  With my hands full of bags and water bottles, I follow two guys down a dirt path that is actually quite nice.  It's lined with shrubs and palm trees...then a ball flies straight past my head, missing me by inches.  I turn in the direction it came from and maybe 20 kids are staring wide-eyed as I set my stuff down and run to get the soccer ball.  I kick it back to them, and all they do is laugh at me, so I grab my stuff again and head to my room.  The sun is going down, but there's no relief from the humidity and I'm guzzling water like there's no tomorrow.  I just get settled when a young man comes in and hands me a huge plate of rice, beef, and sombe, and another plate full of peanuts.  We chat as I eat dinner and I learn that he has three children and has never left Kama.  He helps out with the Brethren mission.

After dinner, I decide it's time to show these kids that a mzungu can play "football."  As I walk over, I watch a young kid, maybe 7 or 8, playing goalie.  His agility amazes me.  He leaps into the air, catching balls and somehow always manages to land on his feet.  I walk up and start playing, but all they want to do is kick the ball at me as hard as they can and hang all over me.  Oh well, at least I got some exercise and they got a few good laughs.

As the sun begins to set, I think it's probably a good idea to throw on a little bug repellent.  Can't be too stingy with that stuff though, so I practically bathe in it.  By the time I'm done, I can't even see my hand in front of my face, so I grab my flashlight, head out to the living room and join in some conversation with a few other men.  There is no electricity, just a flashlight of sorts to cut through the darkness.  We talk about politics and religion for a few hours before everyone retires to their own houses.  It's still only 8:30pm, so I step out the front door for a bit of fresh air and the view literally takes my breath away.  I have seen lots of stars before, but never like this.  Now I know what the Lord meant when he told Abraham his descendants would number more than the stars in the sky.

The airstrip at Kama
I feel privileged to be a part of such a spectacular view.  Shooting stars streak across the sky; there are so many it overwhelms me.  All I can do is stare into the sky and try to take it all in.  It's as if God is saying to me, "Just be quiet and rest; think about the vastness and beauty of what is before you."  So that's what I do.  For a moment, I forget all about electricity and water problems, no air conditioning, the fact that I live in the middle of Africa 10,000 miles away from my family, the intolerable humidity, and that I just had a really long day.  I forget everything.  I enjoy the scenery, that's all.

Then it's more talking about how Congo used to be under Belgian rule, and how it is now.  We make our way inside after the bugs become unbearable, and it's off to bed.  I'm greeted by an old friend, but I've lived in Africa for more than 6 months now...I just grab my boot and squash him (more than 1 year and I will invite him to share the covers).  My mosquito net looks like a bunch of fishing line loosely woven together--it will keep the bats out, but not much else.  I briefly think about putting more bug spray on as I pull the sheet up to my chin, then it's morning.

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