Saturday, July 08, 2006

July 8th Update: Renk Hebrew Program

It's Saturday, and there were no Hebrew classes today, but I do have some reports from Elizabeth and Megan received via Ellen and Gary to post. Here is the latest from Ellen Davis:

[Megan and Elizabeth] are over the teaching blues of Wednesday. They had an honest conversation with the students on Thursday, in which some frustration was expressed on both sides, and out of it a new teaching plan emerged. Today they both sounded elated. Elizabeth said she has rarely done anything so exciting, and she is so glad she has another week. On Sunday she will preach on Job at the Cathedral, 9 a.m. (2 a.m. EST). Fr. Abraham, the designated Hebrew teacher for RBC, returned on Wednesday evening (just after I had spoken to Megan), and he is having extra meetings with Megan to catch up--as will Fr. Joseph. So we are ending a very blessed week. I shared with them the good news about Roda's growing strength and the safety of the babies and told them that they are daily wrapped and held in a very active prayer network. Thanks be to God for all of this, and for you. Pax Christi, Ellen

I have two postings from Gary F. First, Here is Report # 8 from yesterday (Friday):

It is still very hot in Renk and staying asleep remains difficult. I have a report from one veteran visitor that the sleeping problem is common for the first week.

The hand puppets I mentioned in my last SITREP must have worked since Elizabeth reported good progress in class. She is really enjoying it - but mentioned that she plans on sleeping for most of August. She also learned that the best weather is in October in case anyone is planning a visit. (Isn't that the best time to visit almost anywhere?)

They are being treated very well but I was right about the sort of electrical appliances available during the 3 hours of power - lights only. Father Joseph (head of the Renk Bible College) remains in Khartoum with his ill wife. Still, there a lots of people (including 2 security guards at night) keeping a eye on them.

This may have something to do with the lack of sleep, or the heat, but Elizabeth mentioned that the primary form of entertainment for Elizabeth & Megan was watching the ants do something interesting. I guess that's what passes for a "reality show" during the hottest part of the day. It must be fun because Elizabeth is already talking about going back sometime - maybe some future October.

And here is today's posting from Gary:

The rain has arrived making it cooler (low 90s) & much wetter. The mud boots are definitely coming in handy as there are pools of water everywhere. Rain is a mixed blessing because the mosquito population will now increase dramatically. Of course, Elizabeth & Megan have malaria medication, insect repellant, and mosquito netting to sleep under - unlike many of the local residents.

There were no classes today (Saturday) so they went to the Renk market where the selection is quite eclectic. They are still being followed by crowds of children who call out "Kwaja" which, roughly translated, means crazy white women struggling thru the dung & mud.

No big sales, unfortunately, to report at the market. However, they found the missing "UNO" card game at the Bible College so Elizabeth & Megan were able to give the ant show the day off.

Despite the heavy security (previously reported), there was an "incident" at the Bible College sometime yesterday when a goat made it into the classroom. Yes, a goat, and it didn't speak ancient Hebrew, Dinka, English, or Arabic. The goat caused quite a ruckus AND ate the notes from the previous team about what material was supposed to be covered on the next test. A coincidence or an inside job using a well-trained goat? You decide.

(BTW: I think the goat is Sunday dinner. Either that or it's working the dump this week and will be next Sunday's dinner.)

Speaking of farm animals. Megan said for her parents to ask for lots of cattle... something about a dowry price....bad connection....cut off. (According to my on-line encyclopedia, Dinka men pay a bride price in cattle so that may have something to do with it.) Congratulations - or an inside family joke?

Elizabeth is preaching at the "Dinka service" at the Renk cathedral tomorrow. The sermon gets translated as she delivers it so the homiletics class where the professor made them have only one, often repeated, point will come in handy. Hopefully, I'll get a full report on Monday or Tuesday (if the phones are working).


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