PK and the Summer of 2017 travel blog


After getting back from the American Embassy on Tuesday, I had a couple of hours to teach in the afternoon. It was kind of a blur to me, but I loved that the students were willing to laugh with me about the misadventures rather than be frustrated that we missed so much class. One of them told me, "This is Africa." Ha. I responded, "That may be but the African agents have been nothing but gracious to me. It's the American State Department that created this problem." Sheesh.

I was anxious to jump on things on Wednesday. I had asked them to do some work on their own while I was gone on Tuesday, so I decided to skip ahead to my Day 4 curriculum where I had planned to deal with these issues. Can you see my plans starting to unravel?

The morning session went well. It takes a lot longer to get through the material, despite my translator being the best one I have ever gotten to work with. The pastor told me he often works for the U.N. and International Companies to translate. You would not know it from his humility and kindness. We really had not made it to the content I wanted to cover by lunch.

During lunch the rains began. Think: Days of Noah. I saw a couple of people out gathering animals and finding gopher wood. I wasn't too worried about the rain, but then the power blew with a bang. I went into the classroom. Not only had I lost the ability to use powerpoint or even my own electronic notes; we had no lights. Only a little light crept through the clouds and into the windows. Certainly not enough for them to see me, let alone take notes. I looked at my translator. "We've already lost too much time. Let's get started." He laughed and said OK. I split them into groups and gave them simple instructions to begin work on producing a Bible study on 1 Corinthians 13--the Love Chapter. I told them to seat their group by a window, upstairs on the balcony...anywhere they could find light.

We did the study in pieces. I would give them instructions, send them out to work on it, then have them come back and tell me what they had come up with. It took longer than you might imagine because once they had come up with a plan, they did not want to leave out ONE detail. Perhaps that is because I told them their grade would depend on class participation and they wanted all those points. OK, probably not. Probably they were excited to be doing something after all the time they spent waiting on me to get sprung from Interpol.

I had dinner with pastor and his family on the balcony. To be honest, I have no idea how they prepared the food, but it was quite good. Simple, but good. I had hoped to get on the Internet, but no power meant no wifi. We went for ice cream instead. Fortunately, it is not all of Africa that has no power. WE finally got power back about the time I was slurping my dessert.

Thursday--Today started out well. I reviewed a little then gave them my Day 5 quiz. Ha. This is so messed up. I had to make sure I had actually covered the stuff on the quiz. Then, we finished up their Bible studies. They seemed excited about the approaches I was asking them to consider. Of course, what would the day be without ANOTHER power outage. We went back to our group work.

I was talking with one of the students tonight. "Professor," he said, "we are so grateful for what you are teaching us. And not just the subject, but how patient you have been. Even when things have gone badly, you find a different way to teach and we continue to learn. I am very inspired by that." And I am grateful for such thoughtful words.

Ok, Justin, I'm trying to get into the workouts. I did all the exercises last night, if only a single set. I'm about to go do them for tonight. Your work was not in vain. Thanks, man.

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