Wednesday morning was the start of a day I spent six months preparing for. My group had been preparing for storytelling sessions in the village. I was having problems. My stomach was killing me and I could barely move. I went to breakfast and only ate half a slice of bread. Then I went back to the tent to sleep. As the temperature climbed the tent became unbearable.
I got out of the tent and joined the others in the church. They all seemed glad to see me and I tried to physically and mentally pull myself together. I lasted about an hour, but then needed to lie down again. They prepared a cot for me in the corner of the church. It was a better location than the tent.
The rest of the day I was in and out of consciousness and feeling so hot. I was hot because it was over 100 degrees outside – not fever. I just felt terrible and as evening came, the leaders of my team had to debate what to do with me. It was decided to wait and see how I was doing in the morning. Many people prayed for me – including pastor B from the village. Someone reported to me later that he just stayed in the church and prayed for me.
During the night, I got up to go to the bathroom. My dear translator friend, S, followed me because he was concerned for me. It’s a good thing he did! I apparently walked past the outhouse and would have been lost if he had not called out to me, “Ted! The bathroom is right here!”. He waited for me and then escorted me back to the building. Were it not for S, I could still be wandering the African desert!
I will probably never know what the cause of the problem was. It may have been the food or some 24 hour bug. But the next morning I awoke and felt much better. I’m still eating just bread and cheese mostly but my appetite has returned. I missed out on a day that I had been looking forward to but perhaps there can be a different way of looking at it. Maybe someone else in the group needed an opportunity to serve. Maybe it was important for me to experience what sickness might feel like for people in the village.
I do know that I never felt so awful and alone in all my life. It is a blessing to have good health in your life.
So I was still able to spend some time afterward with my friend TK. His youth group put together a sketch based on the lessons from the day before. He played the part of Abraham and did a great job. We never had much of a chance to talk (through a translator) but we would touch fists when we passed by one another. He is such a shy young man. As we waved goodbye he had such a smile on his face. I could see once again, that my visit from across the world meant everything to him. I helped make him feel special – and that in turn made me feel special.
Sorry for no photos but my awesome system of video transfer does not work. Note to self – test complicated systems before foreign travel.