“Asa” they cry as I pass them on a bicycle taxi. A word meaning ‘whoa, check that out’ (more or less!). A person with white skin using a bicycle taxi – who’d have thought! When I walk by it’s a similar shout, “Ayyyy, azungu” – “Look! Someone with white skin.” And when I’m on our motorbike? You guessed it. Laughter, pointing and cries of exclamation and disbelief. It’s the same for Andrew, though perhaps being a man on a motorbike doesn’t draw quite the same astonishment. When I’m in a car (with a friend or for work) I have no idea what happens. I can’t hear and I don’t look. Ignorance is bliss. But I have a hunch that that’s how people expect me to travel and so might not draw the same interest.
We are very fortunate to currently have the wonderful, generous and talented Ali and Becca here to stay for a couple of weeks. They have been such a blessing to us. We thought that it might be interesting to give our guests the opportunity to write something for the blog as well as it being a refreshing break for our readers from our writing! This first one is from Ali:
I have just written a sermon for Sunday morning’s service here in Milange. Jo and I were discussing the fact that it would be more interesting if I could insert an example from my own life. The sermon is about unity and the importance of forgiveness and I wanted to show how hard I sometimes find it to forgive others. If I were in England I would have told the story of when my sister revealed who died in the fifth Harry Potter book. I got my revenge by spitting in her tea… While I obviously knew that there would be significant cultural differences between my life in South London and Jo and Andy’s life in Milange it still seems bizarre to me that such a familiar cultural touchstone would be meaningless here. Equally irrelevant would be the link I wanted to make to the need to pray and campaign for persecuted Christians in Iraq – few people here would know anything about what was going on because they don’t have TVs and the news here is focused on Mozambique. It really made me wonder how people here see their place in the world.