The name’s Andrea Drake. I study flora. Leaves, bark, seed – that kind of thing. Make notes and drawings in a little book, than bring them back to the University. I study people, too, ‘specially quirky ones, but that’s my hobby.
On my last trip – it was only supposed to be for six months – I was in the Tropics, searching for the rare Aswagia plant. The third day out, I was bitten by some horrendous-looking insect that I’d never seen before – had no idea what – I collect plants, for Peteys sake. Ten days later, deathly ill, I woke up in some leafy shanty, soaking in a vat of mud. I hate mud. That was my first encounter with the River People.
The mud drew out the poison, but I was left weakened for months. I processed words during my infirmity, but years passed before I knew enough of their language to understand their lifestyle and could make preparations to return home.
They called themselves Manglee (Undecided Ones). The river, their lifeblood, was called Manglanis (Indecision). Both were aptly named, for it took days for them to make a simple choice, and months, perhaps years, to ponder anything of greater importance. It was a good thing for me, I suppose. For, during that time, I obtained ample vocabulary to understand why they’d let me live. They simply couldn’t make up their minds.
Their daily lives never varied. Breakfast was roasted yams; lunch, a horrid smelling cooked mush. The evening’s feast was fish accompanied by another grain, ground and baked like a flatbread. All were clad in silky, woven grass garments - quite decent, really. Rarely, one might get adventurous and tuck in a piece of colored plumage, causing quite a stir.
I was not out of danger, of course, but because I was radical, I became a curiosity. My hair had grown. To keep it off my neck, I’d tie it back or put it in a bun. French braid it, sometimes. Like I said – radical.
A strange thing happened the fourth year. A covered basket floated down the swirling waters of the Manglanis. It drifted past us, its fate left to chance by the apprehensive natives. I, by nature impetuous, waded out to pry into the unknown.
A child, (about two, I think), slumbered in the woven bed. As I returned with my treasure, the Manglee scurried away, fear giving them feet.
I named him Moses.
During the day, the inquisitive peeked and probed at the little child. Since decisions weren’t involved, they were free to observe. In the evenings, though, much thought went into what to do about the River child and the strange River mother. Were we bad omens or good?
On the one hand, I worked hard and I kept them entertained. Just as easily, they figured, I could be up to trickery, waiting to kill them in their sleep. The little one? A gift from the River god to bring them prosperity? Or a curse, sent by the hand of another tribe?
Superstition could kill us, I knew. Me - I’m old - but the boy…? That’s when I thought of it. They loved stories. I started with a story of the true God sending a different Moses to be a blessing and a leader. I had their interest. “God had a special job for him,” I said, "but Moses was tongue tied, afraid.” I told them that this God gave Moses the power to speak and to make decisions for many tribes. Their attention was roused.
“Yashekasu” (“Tell us more”).
I plied them with stories about the God of the bible and of Jesus, the Savior. One by one, they came to the place of decision and surrendered to the Sovereign God of Choices.
The undecided marveled at the changes in the redeemed. As each one made a choice – a real choice - to be baptized, the unbelieving were in awe. These changed ones no longer feared the river; they were free. Many followed in their footsteps.
They re-named the river “Mose wa Yara”, (Moses, our Friend).
I was gone by the time the missionaries came later that year. They were surprised to see a tribal people who worshipped the true God, and in their midst, a boy called Moses. Was I surprised? No. Didn’t God say “Some from every tribe and tongue…”
Oh, yes; I didn’t find my Aswagia plant. Maybe I’ll go back; maybe not. I can’t quite decide….
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.