The Khawajas Are Cold?

Publicity_shot Posted by Nigel and Carol Weallans on Wed, 03 Feb 2016 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’ (Mark 12 v43-44)

The offering is seldom a moving part of a church service. However, on Sunday, as I watched very poor people come forward to place the little that they had into the basket, I was reminded of the widow in the gospel story. Part of the offering consisted of two washing bowls and one cooking pot of groundnuts. I wondered whether I would take food from my kitchen cupboard to put into the offering, if I did not have money to give.

Cultural differences lead to some amusing and touching incidents. I had noticed that people wishing to speak to someone would not interrupt them, but sit quietly until they were ready to see them. On one occasion, I was sitting in the office opposite Betes, the Diocesan Secretary. I was happily tapping away on my laptop and noticed that he seemed to have fallen asleep. When I eventually looked up properly, I found that he was waiting for me to finish what I was doing. He would not interrupt me, even to say that he needed to leave the office for an appointment.

On Monday, we were visited by Canon Richard and thought that we would return a casserole dish to him, which had contained a gift of bananas, brought to us by his daughter. On retrieving the dish from our room, Carol noticed that it needed a wash. We were explaining to him that we would return it later, after washing it, but he took it, walked to the kitchen, and returned the clean dish to us. I think that, in the end, he understood that we wanted to return his property and did not expect him to be responsible for our dirty dishes.

I have taught myself, if I am working indoors, to check outside the house every ten or fifteen minutes. This is because anyone visiting will not disturb us, but find a chair and sit and wait quietly outside.

Ibba is cold! In the late evening, the temperature begins to drop and by about 5am, it is quite chilly! This is usually made up for, later in the day, when the temperature tops 30 degrees. This morning, a strong wind was blowing, which overturned a plastic chair on our veranda.

Last night, we had chapattis. Carol had bought some small green fruits on the market, which are like limes, but spherical. The children eat them as they are and without wincing at the taste. We invited Ronnie to try what we would call pancakes, with brown sugar and juice from the small fruits. This was quite nice, although the sugar was a bit crunchy.

On another afternoon, we sat in the shade of a tree and made passion fruit juice. We had no blender, so whisked the juice with a fork before pushing through a tea-strainer and adding water and sugar. It was good and there was enough to give Philomena a mugful. Philomena is an old lady who walks barefoot past our house and sometimes pauses to rest on our steps.

To much celebration and many prayers of thanksgiving, the bishop arrived in Ibba with the new landcruiser. This was the culmination of a great deal of fundraising by those in Moira, Northern Ireland. Although stopped by criminals along the way, they had not harmed or detained him or the driver. On Sunday, there was more celebration, with blessings for the car, inside and out.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. (2 Corinthians 2v14)

(Khawaja is the Sudanese term for foreigners, especially white people. It’s the equivalent to the Swahili/Bantu term Mzungu and the Nepali term Bideshi).

Nigel and Carol are working with Ibba Diocese on an eight-month STEP (Short-Term Experience Placement) with CMSI. You can read their other blog offerings here.


Jenny Christie said Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:17AM
Great update Nigel - thank you and send our love to Bishop Wilson, Betes and all the Ibba family!

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