Much More Than Just Another Morning

Saturday had arrived. It was almost light, so it must be 6.30. The martins, as they had each morning, weaved among the pillars before settling briefly above Mavis’ door. The watery sound of other birds could be heard above a cricket’s. During the night a cat had raided the leftovers of our meal, the debris of which now lay on the floor. The vultures would have taken their share too.

The vehicle arrived and we made our way to the airstrip for 9.00, as directed. Another African Saturday was getting going, little changed over centuries. Women were collecting water, others were going about their business, some bicycling, some on motorbike – and with landcruisers for the few. A dog and a cow eyed each other at a safe distance before carrying on their way up the road.

By 9.30, more of those with whom we had spent the week joined us. We loved them in their generosity of heart and hospitality. Praying with them had allowed us deep into their painful lives. We too had opened our hearts. The sessions on forgiveness had been poignant; ‘all of us have had terrible experiences’, one underlined. Real friendships had been the fruit.

Michael and Abraham re-lived David’s illustration of the Christian life without the Holy Spirit; pushing their motorbikes. Memories of dancing were vivid. This had usually led into an energetic jumping up and down on the spot in pairs (‘we can keep it up for 2 hours’.) A memorable moment had been when two ladies continued their ‘shuffle’ dance as they made their way from under the mango tree to the kitchen!

By 10.00, the Cessner was circling to check the runway was clear. The traffic was stopped; it landed. We taxied to the far end, taking off just above our friends. For at least 5 minutes, none of us in the plane said anything.

TOM GILLUM