Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Pied Piper

It is now 11:20 pm. At 6:20 am, I began a post that opened as follows:

In response to an oft spoken request (demand!), let me see if I can figure out how to post a few pictures,... 12 to be exact, (necessarily coming in a few separate posts because of file size). It can't possibly be more difficult than me typing 12,000 words, as a picture is worth 1,000 words.

I was mistaken. After 5 hours, I still could not upload the photos to this blog because of internet issues. (The photos apparently must pass through the Google Blogspot server which kept dropping me.) But enough whining,... I have a new picture to present:

After suffering the aforementioned patience-learning experience, I decided that I just HAD to go on a run,... my first exercise since my last gym workout with David Starr almost a month ago. So I sorted through my very limited clothes that are here at the hotel (vs. elsewhere in storage), and I found a pair of 1980's swim trunks that I would not be caught dead in at home,... put them on,... and took off. The hotel guard cheered me as I passed through the security gate. I chose to run the back streets because the main streets seem too dangerous due to vehicular traffic. As a result, I saw amazing sights and people.

A 17(?) year old boy, Amani, started running with me and talking to me in his best (but very limited) English. As we ran together, we were immediately swarmed by dozens of children to whom I appeared stranger than E.T. More than twenty children, Amani, and one fat old muzungu (white guy) were running up a dirt road through a very crowded neighborhood of small mud homes. The children screamed in lyrical voices as I huffed and puffed at this 5,000+ ft. elevation. Adults stood in their thresholds and smiled at the spectacle. As we ran, the children fought for turns to hold my hand... both hands... which most certainly altered the biomechanics of running. But this did not really matter because the hill was so steep, the crush of children so great, and God's purpose now so different than the run that I had anticipated. It was exhilerating to be having so much fun with so many unspoiled and easily entertained children. When I called for us to stop at the top of the long hill and turned to head back down, the children again pressed in on me. I felt something on my ankle and thought: "Who touched my sock?", and was then immediately disturbed (sickened) by Jesus' familiar question coming to my mind.

I am most certainly blessed by this opportunity to be so close to such vivacious and beautiful people, but the attention and elevation a "muzungu" receives may present some spiritual (and mental health) challenges. It will be easy to get "puffed up" here and thereby ruin any chance of serving, loving, and personally growing. So I must ask that you challenge me and test me and pray that I will be appropriately humbled by my life here and not be corrupted by all the unavoidable attention.