There I stood. Only meters away from my destination yet perplexed as to how to get there without this happening again.
Rainy season = Much needed rain, cooler temperatures, and dirt roads that turn into huge puddles of mud. So there I stood. In front of a stretch of road that was all mud and no solid ground. I pondered what to do next. It must have been a funny sight. The only white girl around, with a big backpack on, just standing in front of the puddles. And then along came Dennis. “Njoo! Njoo!” he summoned me. “Come, come!” He had seen my dilemma and had come to my rescue. He showed me a little path to the right of the road that got me to the other side of the puddles safely and without shoes covered in mud. I sure was thankful that he stopped to help someone who apparently didn’t know how to navigate the simple things of life in Africa.
Oh, and did I mention Dennis is 3 years old?
Yes, a little 3-year old showed me the way around the mud. As I followed him, I had to chuckle. Adjusting to life here really is like becoming a child again.
To become a child again is a humbling experience. Very humbling. To not know where to walk. To be laughed at because I don’t know how to “chambua” rice (=sort-and-sift-through-the-rice-to-remove-rocks-and-other-unwanted-ingredients-in-your-rice) or how to “pepeta” it (=use-a-big-round-woven-plate-like-thing-to-throw-the-rice-up-in-the-air-and-blow-on-it-at-the-same-time-to-remove-chaff). To smile and nod because I have no idea what the other person just said. To offend people quite regularly just because I don’t know any better or am even trying to be kind.
Humility is often seen as weakness in the eyes of the world, but the Bible tends to turn the opinions of the world upside down and inside out. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” it says in 1 Peter. Saint Augustine put it this way, “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Let’s lay that foundation. Preferably on ground more solid than what we walk on these days.
How beautiful are the feet that bring good news? These feet don’t look too beautiful sometimes. Good thing I know someone who is really good at washing the feet of others…