Monday, October 10, 2011

Sharing the World

Today a couple of my teen friends dropped in for an impromptu visit. Karissa was with me and so we were able to talk quite freely, not hampered by my limited Mabaan and Arabic. We chatted about our families, friends, hair weaves, clothing, school, food, language, etc. They laughed at my Mabaan and I laughed with them.

At one point one of them asked where my mother was and if I were going home before Christmas. They wanted to know how long it would take to walk there as that is how distances are measured when you live in the bush. When learning that it would be impossible to walk to my home to visit my family they were primed to hear about how big the earth and solar system is. It blew their minds that it takes over a whole day to fly to America because they do know a bit about planes being fast because of regular exposure to our charter plane that drops us into and takes of out of their lives.

We ended up giving them a geography lesson in an attempt to explain how far from Doro my American home is. I was shocked to learn that they don't even understand that Sudan is one of many countries in Africa and that Africa is just one of the seven continents. I shared a bit about people groups and languages and that Africa is surrounded by water separating it from the rest of the world. These girls are 14-15 years old and blessed to be in 2nd and 3rd grade, but they didn't even know this about their country or continent. To help you understant their perspective a bit--in Mabaan there is only ONE word for home, village, town, country, continent, etc. It is a very limited language. Because of a lack of education and opportunities, their world view is very, very small. They call the English language "Tuuk Khawaja" meaning the language of the white foreigner, not understanding that there are many European languages. I didn't get into that yet, a lesson for another day.

Karissa and I used water bottles to represent the Earth and the sun and how day and night happen at different times for us than you in America because of where we are and how the earth is always turning. You should have heard their exclamations of surprise and even disbelief! It was so entertaining and so fun to watch, but also rather discouraging that their education is appalingly neglected! I sketched the world with the continents and then showed them where Africa was, then Sudan, then South Sudan, then Doro and how our village is such a tiny speck that we don't even show up on the map of Africa.

We took the opportunity to tell them that even though we are so tiny in the grand scheme of the earth STILL God knows all about us every one of us, the number of hairs on our head and when one falls out. Their incredulous expressions were priceless. I would have loved to have captured them on camera but that would have ruined the moment.

This day ranks up there in a 1000 special moments in Doro. : )


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