Friday, May 04, 2012

First Impressions

I’m writing this by the light of a flickering candle on old-school notepaper to conserve laptop battery – ever so appropriate, since here also two realms collide.  There is a light here, but insufficient to see by and this emergency candle has to do.  My room is beautiful: all brick and stone and thatch, with a gorgeous be-mirrored bathroom big enough to waltz in.  Our little farm-compound lies in the midst of a shanty-town thudding with rave music, spiritist rites and barking dogs – and the night’s more peaceful chorus of crickets.  Here, I’m told, the village’s youth dance and carouse into the wee hours, drinking to forget that their chances of success are low in a micro-economy where 85% are unemployed.  “The jobs go to the whites,” they say, yet a friend’s 20-something year old son who’s white as any malungu recently committed suicide over the reverse plea.
Jesus offers hope: you see it plastered about, yet when hard times come, I’m told it’s back to the old ancestor worship.

I’ve met some lovely people: Jane, who always has a joke and story; Prity, who’s name describes her person and personality; Peter, a video-editor dating her; Harry & Joke, my Dutch hosts who are so warm and welcoming; “Jukes” who tells me he chases away ghosts and ancestral spirits with his hammer (I showed him a picture of Dad building our igloo home to pay back that yarn,) and little Anna who took my hand and pulled me to the table.

Yet the dangers one can’t see are spoken of and people do not leave their homes at night.  And here, in the midst of a community-smothering village, I feel a little isolated within this electric-fenced compound.  In this land of contrasts and fiercely national pride, first meets third world, progress leaves poverty, and it’s not all black and white.


Laurrie said...

Glad to hear you are well, Ruth. We really enjoyed reading about your experiences so far, and are praying for you every day. May God bless your time there and keep you safe in His care. It's a comfort knowing He watches and cares for you so far away from us. Love and hugs from all of us!

Lizzi said...

Oh yay you're blogging! I was wondering how it's been going. You are in my prayers.

Matt said...

Thanks for writing, Ruth! Well-written. Keep it up when you can. (By the way, you probably can get a power converter for your laptop, if that's the problem.) I understand a bit what it's like for you. We are praying for you and think of you often.

We just talked to Ann W. tonight who mentioned that she had some cousins who would LOVE to have you over for a weekend. They said that they would come to pick you up wherever you are. You've probably heard about them already, but I'm just making sure.

Love you sis! God keep you safe and bless you with good friends!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ruth, my cousin wants to connect with you asap to make some plans.........they just came back from some holidays, but may not be home every weekend. Please call her asap, okay?
Thinking of you often. love, ann