Sunday, January 01, 2017

Closing Sabbath

After the service was finished, we had communion as this was 13th Sabbath. First we did foot washing. Then men outside and the women in the church. Joseph and I washed each others feet and prayed together. Then he washed my hands and offered his to me, to wash. It is customary to wash your hands after foot washing to prepare for taking the bread and wine. But, I had never had someone else wash them. It was a remarkably humbling and touching moment. As we finished the hand washing, Joseph took my hands in his and prayed for me.

Then we went into the church for the bread and wine. Courtney and I were unsure if we should drink the ‘wine’ as it could be watered down with river water - which the people drink - and we could get sick. After being assured the juice was received from the conference and then boiled, Mercy said to Courtney, “But you need not worry, it has been prayed for. You will not get sick.” She was right, we are both fine and healthy, a day later.

Communion finished at 2.30. Leon had arrived at the end of the service and gave his greetings to the people. He told them how much he and Carole had enjoyed their time with them and how much they would miss them when they left on Wednesday.

As we exited the church and stood around outside, a few ladies started looking over at the Prado, parked just beyond the fence, and laughing. A wet weather jacket was hanging from the window as it has not been closing properly. I said to Joseph, “Are they laughing about the coat in the window?”

“No,” Joseph said, “they are talking about you.”

“Me?” I said, “Why?”

“They are wondering if you will fit through the hole in the fence to get to the Prado.” Joseph laughed.

The fence had a gate that you ducked through, rather than opened. It consisted of a number of sticks crossed and nailed together. There was a hole, clearly big enough for a Maasai to go through, but not a goat or cow.

I laughed and headed toward the fence, “I’ll show them!” I said over my shoulder.

I ducked and squeezed through the hole as casually as I could. Then, popping up on the other side, I spun around and blew them a rasberry. They all laughed.

Heading back up the hill in the Prado, Leon gave us an update. Michelle had a badly infected ankle. It was treated and wrapped, she now has medicine to take regularly to get rid of the infection.

The X-ray shows that Little Vivian has a chipped bone in her angle. Her leg is now wrapped and she is under strict orders not to walk on it. She gets around with a stick and a smile. She will need to stay home for the next week and then join the children who are heading to school on Wednesday after their two month year end holiday.

After a lunch of Spagetti on toast we all headed up to the ridge for a walk, surrounded by the most amazing views. All of the children walked with us and we were joined by neighbouring kids as we walked.

Walking along the ridge, I was intrigued by an empty metal frame. Clearly it once had a sign in it. I asked Joseph about it.

“People from the Netherlands planted trees and put up the sign.” Joseph said.

I looked across the barren mountain top. “What trees?” I asked.

Joseph pointed at one lone tree some ways up the ridge, “That is the last one.” Then he pointed at rocky circles in the ground, “These are holes where the trees were.” Perceiving them for the first time I saw a huge gridwork of holes in all directions.

“What happened to the rest of the trees?”

“They planted them and left,” Joseph said. “The government said they would care for them but they did nothing.”

“The people from the Netherlands went home thinking they had done a great thing,” I said. “I wonder what they would think now?”

“True.” Joseph said.

“Why did they plant the trees here?” I asked.

“The government owns tops of all the highest ridges,” Joseph said, “They allow good things like schools and clinics there. But, the government does not run them, so they keep going.” We continued walking up the ridge.

Leon led songs as he walked with a group far in front of us. I made animal noises at the occasional donkey, cow and sheep. The kids laughed and joined in.

A top the ridge, we were blessed with the most amazing views and a beautiful lengthy sunset. The children ran and played as the Mzungus took photos of themselves, the kids, the views and everything else.

As we walked the children held our hands. Some got rides of the shoulders of Joseph and myself. It was a perfect finish to a blessed Sabbath day.

The day that had started with frustration and angst at the slowness of this place ended with a gratefulness for the same thing. The peace and tranquility are revitalising. Knowing that the two girls who were injured are now on the mend allowed everyone to rest their worried minds and enjoy the ebbing minutes of the Sabbath.

We returned to the house, had a quick dinner of pan fried potatoes - Leon’s specialty. Then we headed into a time of singing and stories about the great plan God has for our eternal lives and the intricate plan he has for each of our lives here on Earth, should we choose to follow Him.

We closed the Sabbath, as we had opened it, with prayer. And we all headed to bed.

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