Saturday, April 16, 2011

Culture Shock in Africa

Written 4/10/2011
For nearly 2 months I have lived in a one room hut with dirt floors. I've slept on the ground outside my hut in a mosquito tent. A hole in the ground has served as my bathroom and bathing area. My bathing system consists of a bucket with water while wearing a swimming suit. I have relied on three water bottles for drinkable water, which I fill at the hospital compound, and lived by headlamp in the evenings. With time I have adjusted to these living conditions and been quite content. As is so often true, simplicity is joy.

This weekend our missionary doctors took a small vacation. They asked me to stay at their house and keep an eye on things. I happily agreed. Within a couple hours of arriving at the house I found myself in culture shock. I had a kitchen to cook in, a flushing toilet, running water I could drink, a real shower, and electricity. Not only was the water drinkable, but I could have a cold glass of water! What a gift from God!

Plugging in my computer, I turned on Sabbath music and headed for the kitchen. I was itching to make my own food, and thoroughly enjoyed whipping up biscuits and baking some seasoned potato slices. (Before the weekend was over I had made garlic noodles and oatmeal raisin cookies too!) It was very satisfying. As the sun disappeared I welcomed the Sabbath by lighting some candles, as is my custom in America. I soaked in the stillness and solitude. It was like a sanctuary of peace. That night, sleeping on a soft mattress with a fan blowing on me felt like a 6-star hotel—simply heavenly!

For one terrible moment I was afraid this weekend might ruin me for village life. I shouldn't have worried. This evening I visited my African family briefly. The children swarmed me and I soon had a lap full of them. My family greeted me with broad smiles. I joined them on the mat, but explained I wasn't back to stay yet. It was then I realized, I’m looking forward to going home. My batteries have been recharged. I miss my African family. I'll be ready to return tomorrow.

1 comment:

Elani said...

I feel you. =) After nearly 7 months of sleeping on the floor, etc, I experienced incredible culture shock when I stayed in some missionaries' house near Bangkok. It was shocking----especially the refrigerator! haha