Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GENEROUS (10/31/19)
- TITLE: Loving Lebowa
By Corinne Smelker
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I was there to preach about the â€˜white manâ€™s godâ€™ Jesus, at a time when racial tensions ran high. â€œDonâ€™t leave the mission compound by yourself, ever,â€ our team leader admonished us. â€œAnd women, if you are caught, the leaders will forcibly circumcise you.â€ He wasnâ€™t kidding either. We had seen firsthand what could happen in these remote parts of South Africa where the white manâ€™s law did not apply. But still, it was missions, amongst a tribe of people I loved dearly.
Every day weâ€™d leave the mission (a group of tents clustered together) and drive to the most remote areas of Lebowa, and then split into pairs, and walk miles to the far-flung villages, before reconvening back to the Land-Rovers that brought us. We brought our own food and water, and some sweets to entice the kids. Get the kids, and the moms would come to see what was going on.
It was close to the end of the week-long trip when my interpreter, Isaac and I, made our way to a hilltop village. As in other villages the kids clambered all over me, touching my hair and skin. I was the first white person theyâ€™d ever seen and my freckles fascinated them. As I laughed and joked with them, I told their parents about Jesus and salvation. They listened politely, although when one man wielded his assegai I flinched. He was reprimanded and shamefully set it aside.
Isaac and I lost track of time, and before we knew it, it was dusk.
â€œWe have to go, Isaac!â€ I exclaimed.
â€œMissy, we cannot go now. It is dangerous,â€ he warned. â€œLions hunt, jackals hunt, we cannot leave the village.â€
â€œBut the others will be worried.â€
â€œBetter that they worry, than we die,â€ Isaac said matter-of-factly. One thing I loved about my African friends was their pragmatism, their â€˜sera seraâ€™ view of life.
We sat around the main fire, and I watched as the women made smaller fires outside their huts, got their potjiekos (literally, â€˜small pot foodâ€™) and cooked up mieliepap (grits). I heard a huge commotion behind one hut, and a couple of minutes later, a child emerged, lifeless body of a chicken dangling from one hand. He invited me to pluck the chicken; and then he expertly cut it up and it was added to another pot. Dinner was ready.
Later that evening, after the main fire had burnt itself down to embers, one of the women gestured for me to enter her hut. I had not been inside them before. The floor, although dirt, was swept clean; she had made flowers from bent wire and nylons from tights (stockings); and the bed in the corner was immaculately made up. She pointed to the bed, and mimicked sleeping. She wanted me to sleep on her bed? I shook my head â€˜Noâ€™ but she nodded hers. I acquiesced and lay on top of the bed, trying not to disturb the covers. She and her children slept on the floor that night.
The following morning we heartily ate the leftover pap and chicken before Isaac and I ran back to the meeting point from the day before. There we met with a frantic team lead. â€œWhat would I have told your family?â€ he rebuked us. We hung our heads, but inwardly I smiled.
Later, Isaac and I sat in the back of the open Land-Rover, bumping over grass hillocks and potholes. â€œMissy, you were privileged.â€
â€œI know,â€ I replied.
â€œAh Missy. They only had one chicken. They killed it for you. It was a great honour.â€
â€œReally? Only one?â€
Suddenly, I felt small and insignificant. These people had every reason to hate me, because of the colour of my skin, what the white-ruled government did to them on a daily basis, and that I was preaching about a white manâ€™s god. Yet they treated me with kindness, and respect, giving all out of their little.
To this day, whenever I think I donâ€™t have enough to give, I just have to think back to that moment in the Land-Rover and life hands me a big reality check.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.