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Back to the Bush: Happy Birthday!

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Our birthday boy with his dad.

Our birthday boy with his dad.

2-20-13

     While living in the bush, one of our trainee’s children celebrated his 8th birthday. Here we were out in the middle of nowhere! I was really curious about how this celebration would turn out and how it would compare to his birthdays in America! I am sure this young man also wondered what kind of birthday, if any, he would have living in the bush. As it turned out this young man did celebrate his birthday and while basic in its celebration, it couldn’t have been more unique!

   

Our birthday boy's younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

Our birthday boy’s younger brother devouring the chocolate birthday cake.

   Back at base camp one of the trainees had baked a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and a coke cake with buttercream icing and brought it as a surprise. My young friend was the most popular person in camp. Everything centered around him that afternoon. 

 

 

camp chameleon

camp chameleon

   My son had just returned from running an errand and on the way back to bush camp he saw a chameleon on the road. Guess what the birthday boy got for a gift that day!

   The chameleon was exotically beautiful. At first he was kept in a box, but that just seemed too restraining for a creature who previously had run of the African Savannah. The cactus tree in the center of camp seemed much more accommodating, so that became its new home. 

 

 

  According to the birthday boys wishes, we had two types of chicken soup (one with noodles, compliments of a local store near base camp, and one with rice!) I might add both were delicious, and I’m not kidding. Do you suppose it was so yummy because it wasn’t beans and rice? No, take my word for it, those trainees had mastered the art of cooking from scratch over a charcoal fire! The birthday boy was glorying in all the expressions of love, good tasting food, birthday presents, and attention. Any American kid would have envied him, I think!

     While this young man’s birthday may not have been typical in American terms, it contained all the necessary ingredients in making it memorable. He was surrounded by his loving parents and siblings, a host of grown up friends and young friends; presents, good food, and lots and lots of love. You think he might grow up and remember his bush birthday as one of his most memorable? Yep, bet he does!

Back to the Bush: Eyes to see the beauty!

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A view from bush camp!

2-13-13

Bush Camp

     I stood gazing upon the landscape laid out before me.  A landscape that in my personal opinion left a lot to be desired. Dry and sandy riverbeds with sparse muddy puddles left me feeling deprived. I longed for the tall proud oaks and abundant broadleaf trees of my homeland–thorn trees called Acacia trees, and cactus trees held no allurement for me. The absence of lush green grass that you could run barefoot through was disappointing. Instead, sturdy shoes were required when walking about in the dry yellowish grass that grows in the savannah; for stickers and undesirable creatures call these grasses home.

      Admittedly the breeze was pleasant most often, but there were times when about all it accomplished was to stir up the dust, making our daily lives anything but pleasant. 

     While the sun made wearing a hat mandatory, shade of any kind provided relief. However, wildfires (almost a daily event), caused by the burning sun on the dry grass or by humans, kept the air scented with smoke.  And, oh yeah, not the pleasing fragrance like that of an oak fire but more like the foul smell of  locust wood. 

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Yet, my reality of bush camp, I discovered, was peculiar only to me. For instances, read the list below of how one of my friends described his reality.

-good food

-beautiful landscape

-little to no stress

-good fellowship

-lots of time with God

-time to learn and be equipped to serve God

-time with family

     Come on folks, can you see the obvious here?  I was so focused on my disappointments that I was critically blinded to the beauty and blessings that were all around me. I allowed fiery dart thinking to cast a veil over my sight, thus preventing me from seeing the beauty and wonder that my friend was blessed to see. The following verse stings me a bit!

 

Hear this, you foolish and senseless people. They have eyes, but they don’t see. They have ears, but they don’t hear. Jeremiah 5:21

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Lounging by a cactus tree!                     While I can’t say I was as opened as my friend was to the beauty around us, I did have my moments!

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