Thursday, November 22, 2012

What do I

     "So what do you do all day?" I've been asked this question several times in the last few weeks.  By my friends and family in the US as well as fellow journeyers waiting to be placed into homes.  
       Its harder to answer than you think.  I do so much every day that each night I go to bed exhausted. But the next morning, it's hard to say exactly what happened yesterday. I've discovered that the question itself betrays our western mindsets and ideals of productivity and task orientation. If we haven't completed some note worthy work or task, something we can put in a blog or newsletter then... we haven't really done anything.
       From a Western Perspective my day looks like this:

Wake Up
Wait for someone to get me water so I can take a bucket bath. 
Get dressed.
Wait for Uncle Yeo to finish his bath so we can each breakfast.
Pray for the day with Uncle Yeo
Go to the local Highschool, where Uncle Yeo is a Biology Teacher
Wait outside while he teaches
Go back home.
Wait for lunch to be ready.
Eat lunch.
Take a nap.
Wait for everyone else to get up from their naps.
Wait for Uncle Yeo to get back from School.
Go with Uncle Yeo to visit people. 
Wait while he talks either in French too fast for me to understand or in another language all together. 
Go back home
Wait for dinner to be ready
Eat dinner.
Wait for Aunt Awa to tell me to take another bucket bath.
Watch TV while people come and visit
Wait for bed time.
Go to bed.

    Rod Ragsdale, the field leader for WorldVenture in Cote d'Ivoire and the director of Journey Corps, has famously said, "It's not about doing, it's about being. Just be." This from a man who has a hard time stopping work to sit in a meeting, or quite working long enough to take a nap. And vacation forget about it. Yet he knows, having grown up in Cote d'Ivoire, the importance of being, of sitting with people, of watching and observing before speaking. And so from this perspective my day looks like this:

Wake Up
Mentally prepare for the day and be reminded of the peace that God has secured for me in Christ.
Get dressed.
Watch how an Ivorien family interacts and learn their roles in the family.
Pray for the day with Uncle Yeo.
Go to the local Highschool, where Uncle Yeo is a Biology Teacher
Watch how students respect teachers and vice versa. Talk with students and practice French, learning new words as I watch and interact.
Greet everyone on the way home and begin to comprehend the importance of greetings to relationship and life here.
Play games on my Iphone while I wait for lunch to be ready, and laugh with my little cousin as I teach him how to play.
Eat lunch and enjoy the pleasure of eating with friends.
Take a nap.
Wait for everyone else to get up from their naps, and read while enjoying the quite and stillness of the afternoon heat.
Read my Bible in French and have my pronunciation corrected by Aunt Awa.
Go with Uncle Yeo to visit people. 
Give people value and importance by visiting and make them laugh as I stumble with my bad French.
Stop by "The Grein" a gathering of Teacher, to say hello. 
Talk with Aunt Awa about different foods and learn why food is prepared that way.
Eat dinner, while watching TV.
Learn the importance of cleanliness in society and the roles of the family by waiting to take another bucket bath.
Bathe and enjoy the simple pleasure of getting rid of sweat and grime.
Watch TV and laugh with people as they teach me knew words in French, and try to explain Western Perspective on current events while learning Ivorian perspectives.
Ask Uncle Yeo to explain the things I didn't understand during the day.
Go to bed and thank God for a great day.

        So you answer the question, "What do I do all day?"

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