Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Missionaries and Meetings

Missionaries and Meetings

Yesterday morning, I was enjoying my ritualistic morning cup of Starbucks Via when I got a phone call from our recently absent youth officer asking me if I knew about the Peace Corps volunteers that are now at the church in New Xade. “No…” I said, scanning my head for possibilities. He told me to come right away.

I arrived a few minutes later (luckily I was already dressed) and met 50 white people and a giant commercial bus. 12 of them were from the states, the rest from South Africa. They were missionaries here for a few days to do whatever the church wanted of them. Bicky arranged for a prayer walk later that day, and then they engaged in some kid play—balls, skits, face paint, tickle fights, general walking around with kids attached to each limb.

As I watched the young missionaries make their way around the village with a gaggle of our children, I grew nostalgic the days where I was one of those young missionaries. A child on each arm, and one sitting in my head, plaiting my hair. Giving away pipe-cleaner eye glasses and blowing bubbles in the middle of a rural dirt street, sweat and dust clinging to my skin. The days of relentless activity, the nights of deep sleep…

Our youth organization met for the first time today. 6 young men and I sat down to make preparations and bang out the agenda for Saturday’s kickoff event. Dance groups, snacks, music, speeches, and all-around an exciting time. “Halala! Halala!” as they say here.

Though the past few months have painted me to be a cynic of community organization, I find myself having faith in this merry band of young people. I realized that these guys have one very important feature to their advantage that I didn’t plan for—Fun. Halala! Halala! They laughed as we disbanded at the end of our 2 hour meeting. At the last minute, I snapped this photo in hopes of one day having it framed as the beginning of a beautiful thing.

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