It’s another early night due to the lack of entertainment here. I spent the last hour or so before retiring to my ‘chambre’ making paper aeroplanes for a couple of the kids in the hotel and flying these across the dining room. As I go to bed I try to find an English speaking voice on the little world band radio I have with me, but since we are in such a remote corner of the world which speaks Kirundi, Swahili and French predominantly there appears to be nothing. A detailed search of every MW, FM, LW and SW channel is made and reveals only a couple of occasions where English can be detected. However the voices I so much want to hear wave in and out of detection. If I try to alter the channel I have miraculously found; since the graduation between one channel and another on SW seems to be only a fraction of a millimetre apart, the channel is lost. I eventually give up and resort to listening again to Bob Dylan’s ‘Slow Train Coming’ album, the only one of two I have on my iPod, which I didn’t sync before I left. Soon I fall fast asleep. The night is quiet here, no barking dogs and no honking horns in the night. No discos until the early hours and so I have a great nights sleep. The Imam rudely awakens me at 5am or so. His call to prayer to the Islamic flock is eerie in the early morning hush, his only competition a few cockerels who cannot keep quiet and the rumbling sound of distant traffic which is now starting to roll as darkness begins to wane and the light of day dawns.
It is Sunday, my final day in Buhiga. The leaders who patiently received the leadership training that I had delivered have now all gone back to their own churches for the Sunday worship. The Saturday afternoon outreach service where 20 people came to faith in Christ is also over and soon the Sunday service will also have passed. And I will move on to another place where I will be expected to repeat the leadership training to another group of hungry clergy. I have been challenged once again by lack. Lack of just about everything. Lack of education, lack of initiative, lack of resources, lack of skills, lack of funding – no lack of lack - lack everywhere. These people have nothing; I am reminded of a comment made by a schoolgirl/team-member some years ago when she reported about her trip; she said “I had no idea how little nothong really is”. The frustration I felt from the church leaders who had attended the training this week as they appealed to me for ideas on how they might implement some of the things that I was suggesting. Simple things like putting into place ‘plural leadership’. But most of our people cant read, and even if they did they don’t have a Bible some said; if we want to train them they don’t have the sagacity and education to accept the training. We don’t have the resources to deliver it in such a way as to train them in the short term and the resources to educate them from the very humble place they now stand. I tried hard to say that this was not an insurmountable problem however they would require some creativity to get there. It seemed that my comments fell on un-creative ears in the main. One or two however did manage to grasp this idea and welcomed it along with other suggestions on how they might take an illiterate group of people and train them to be leaders in the church. My plea to them was to get together, pool their resources and experience (some of the men had been pastors for many years) and identify skills where possible and make a plan to get to the desired destination.
Perhaps one day my lack of wisdom will be reversed to the point I can see out of the constraints of my own culture and background and meet them where they are. Perhaps one day the little education that is managing to filter through into the nation will remove the curse of illiteracy and a new dawn can break through on this beautiful country and wonderful nation.