Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Africa is physical

As I regain my African acceptance of a slower pace with the high temperatures and crushing humidity, other little physical reminders creep in.

It will be three weeks tomorrow. Already I have fought a fungus on the top of my foot, squeezed 2 fly larvae out of my body (must have used a towel that wasn't ironed), tested negative for malaria, and am finishing a course of drugs for giardiasis (don't ask). It's all part of living here. It feels like breathing to me. Two decades is long enough to feel like you belong someplace.

But in some ways, I still don't. We are resident aliens and our color and our background set us apart. Thinking about what a huge thing color is brings home how amazing it is that we have so many friends who look past it. We aren't just Americans or missionaries, we're friends. One young Nigerian man calls me "Mom" since his own mother died several years ago.

Other reminders of the gap keep sneaking in. For the next few days I will post some of those reminders as they come, signposts to show that culture is a huge thing. For many of us it is integral to who we are. I find my reactions to these define me in some ways. Sometimes I'm disappointed by my reaction, but it is part of learning how I can be Christ to people who haven't seen Him in their culture or history.

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