I have really enjoying my time back here in the US, including getting to share with people about what God’s up to in Burkina Faso. But as I was sharing this story one day I was encouraged to write it on my blog to help you understand a bit of the difference in culture between the US and Burkina Faso. So here goes . . .
One day this winter (and in Burkina Faso winter feels about like summer in Wisconsin) I was sitting outside with some friends. I happened to notice an e-mail come through on my smartphone so picked it up, read it, and laughed out loud. My dad had e-mailed, saying that some friends of ours hadn’t made it to church that day since they were snowblowing the driveway and a newspaper got stuck in the snowblower. By the time it was untangled and the driveway was cleared off they had missed church. The story in itself wasn’t as funny as the fact that it was just something that was so very removed from life in Burkina Faso. But my laughter caused my friends to ask what was funny, so I tried to explain the situation in a way that they would understand . . .
Right now in America it is very cold and there is lots of snow. Because it’s so cold and you can’t drive motorcycles in the snow and can’t walk to church since it’s too far, everyone drives cars. There are some of our friends who wanted to drive their car to go to church today. But the car is kept right up by the house in a little house for the car. Then, connecting the house to the road is a little road. When it snows people come and get the snow off of the big road so that the cars can drive on it, since cars can’t drive through much snow. Today there was too much snow for the car to drive through. But each family has to clear the snow off the little road that connects their house to the big road. These friends have a machine that they can use to clear the snow off the little road that connects the house and the car to the big road so that they could get to church. But do you remember what a newspaper is? Here we use it to rip off a page to use as a handhold when you buy a loaf of bread or a little pastry, but there people actually read them. And there is someone whose job it is to go around very early in the morning, before most people wake up, and give a newspaper to every house that paid, especially on Sundays. There is a little box at the intersection of everyone’s little road and the big road, and usually the newspapers are put in there, then each family will come and get theirs out of the little box when they get up in the morning. However, today, this family’s newspaper must have fallen out of the box or it was too hard to get in the box because of the snow. Because of that, it was lying on the little road that connects the house and the car to the big road. The problem was that the family didn’t know that it was on the little road, so drove over it with the machine. It got stuck in the machine so the machine couldn’t work anymore. This was a problem since it meant that they couldn’t get their car out of its little house and to the big road to go to church since they couldn’t drive it across the little road until the machine finished removing the snow from the little road. So they had to work on taking the newspaper out of the machine. By the time that the newspaper was unstuck and they had finished getting the snow off the little road, church was already over since it only lasts about an hour there as opposed to the three hours here. That’s why I was laughing.
For some reason they didn’t think it was funny!