The rains stop just in time for traveling about, by car and on foot, for door-to-door evangelism. It’s a relief the sun is out to dry the mud, yet the dust is settled. First a time of singing and then prayer for those we might see on our path. We set set out to nearby villages – an area strongly influenced by a catholic presence. How surprising and refreshing it is to discuss openly with others who want to talk about the Bible as much as we do! By the time we return to eat together and discuss the conversations of the day, the afternoon is nearly gone.
But, the opportunity to visit a good friend who lives just off the path nearby cannot be passed up. “Fundi Francis” (a ‘foon-dee’ is a person who works in the trades) was there when we first came to Paidha to help with the church building at Akir. He was also there to meet a fellow-fundi in Oz (a contractor back home), who traveled with me in 2016 to lay the foundation and floor of the church. Now, visiting his hut for the first time, blue skies show through gaps in his grass roof. Puddles on the dirt floor from the rain early that morning are carefully avoided. The typical gracious hospitality and welcome into their home ensues. Eventually, I get to ask Francis about his terribly leaky roof. How is it that a fundi has such a leaky roof? We laugh together, but he reminds me that it’s not even been a year since he’s been back home.
Francis and his family moved away for two years to attend a Bible school for pastoral training. It takes time to reestablish, to build up clients again, to be able to earn enough to provide for his family. So, what is needed to repair the roof? 40 bundles of grasses. 40 bundles! Yes . . . and some ties – ties are needed to keep the grass from blowing off. But isn’t he a fundi – can’t he make the ties? No, he works with metal, not with grass. Okay. And also, medicine for the grasses is needed. Medicine . . . what kind of medicine? Medicine to keep the bugs from eating the grasses – that’s what caused this damage. Where can we get some grass? We will go. We will find a place.
Weaving in and out of one village after another, we search for grasses for sale. Just when I think we can not get any more remote, we finally find a vendor! There is a conversation to negotiate a fair price, supplies are purchased and quickly loaded! The total bill . . . $30. Humbled. Surrounded by joyful people and the surprise of suddenly seeing a familiar face out here in the middle of nowhere leaves no time to reflect and process.
Amy! Amy lives out here and is setting out to walk a good distance to town where she works at the Country Cottages – my home away from home in Paidha. She gratefully and joyfully accepts a ride to town. We begin weaving our way back. How is this going to work? The grasses are not staying put! Stopping to get out and evaluate the situation, Amy starts making a rope out of weeds. Her response to my dropped jaw, “Oh, ya, I can do this!” She’s just grabbing stuff off the road-side, weaving it together. Wow? “Oh ya, it is easy . . ” Soon the bundles of grasses are tied together and strapped down! The light from the day is fading, so back on the road we go!