Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent: Introduction

picture of liturgical art in the Lutheran church in Rundu, Namibia; the caption on this painting reads “the beginning of our salvation”

So, what brought this on? I don't know. I was thinking of doing something other than the usual Christmas letter this year and thought I might do a picture Advent calendar that people could print, with pictures from our time so far in Botswana and related Scripture verses. I worked on that for a bit but couldn't get the pictures to fit right. Then, I thought about doing something web-based, not so problematic for layout. Hey, I already have a daily posting system in place via this blog, right? So, I started looking through pictures. I also started reading through Scripture. I ended up coming back to Isaiah over and over so I decided to stick with Isaiah for the 24 days and see what came together in my compiling process. Isaiah has always been a chewy book for me—Isaiah 54 in particular has been important in my history.

Here it is—the Advent in Isaiah & Botswana calendar… probably the world's first. Nothing too heavy, just some musings as I browsed pictures and Scripture together. Feel free to interact with the reflection questions with the comment function at the end of each posting, if you're comfortable doing so. I'd be interested to see who checks out the calendar. Do open the chapters and read the verses around them; Spirit-led browsing of the context will usually take you far beyond where any devotional resources will.

For Scripture references, I'm using the NET Bible. I love the thoroughness of the notes in the NET translation. Also, I love the fact that they have it available as a free download that, because it's html, it works on any operating system. I have all kinds of Bible-software on the Windows side of my computer but I like to have something just for reading on the Mac side as well. The NET Bible is working great for me.

I've set this up so that, each day, that day's Advent entry will appear. So, you won't be able to read ahead but you will be able to see the entries of the days before, in case you miss a day or two.

Tomorrow, our mutual Advent journey begins…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gaborone trip

We drove to Gabs on Saturday, test drove a Jeep Compass and looked at printers in the afternoon. We also checked out the Toyota Fortuner but didn't get a chance to drive one.

Sunday, we went to the ELCB ordination service in the morning and the ELCB music team braai in the afternoon. It was held at the Stirling family field in Otse. The hill there is lovely and has an endangered vulture sanctuary on the side of it.

Abram, Albert, Rob, William, Ntirelang

Mr. Stirling works the braai

The hill where the vulture sanctuary is

The old blue bakkie, with Otse in the background

Monday, we went to immigration and discovered that new regulations means that we are short 3 supporting pieces of documentation which we'd have to have sent from the States. So, we'll have to get those papers and then drive back to Gabs for round two. After that, we dropped off the InDesign document (Rob did the layout) of the Bible Stories Retold in Shiyeyi to Lydia at the university for her to bring to the printers. In the afternoon, we did more household shopping.

Tuesday morning, we went to an internet spot to send an email to LBT about the missing documents, which took far longer than we expected, given the slowness of internet that day. Then, we drove out to Gabane to pick up our table and chairs, strapped them onto the roof of the car and went to lunch. After that, we hit the road, about 1:30PM. We decided that, given our late start, we'd just drive straight through to Francistown. Just past Palapye, the rainstorm hit. And, boy, did it hit! We then discovered the hard way that the defrost doesn't actually work anymore. I spent the last 2 hours of the trip perched forward on the seat, rubbing the windshield clear from the inside with the wipers on full on the outside. Let's just say that we were thanking God heartily for our safe arrival. And now we have a table and chairs in our room so I can work from home.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Our African president

On our way back to the office from lunch today, we ran into a security guard that we chat with sometimes, Clever. Clever was particularly jubilant today with the results of the U.S. election. He exclaimed, “What a great day! Who would have ever thought that an African would become president of the United States?” It was his phrasing that kind of took me aback. I mean, African-American, yes. But Clever left off the American bit altogether.

Then, it struck me – in Batswana culture, Obama isn't American at all. Botswana citizenship traditionally comes by the father only. The citizenship of the mother is so far from the question that there has even been a lawsuit to only recently make it so that citizenship could be passed by mother only. Therefore, as his father was Kenyan, Obama is strictly an African, by this culture's reckoning. When you consider that the better part of an entire continent may be thinking of it that way, it is kind of startling. That should enhance U.S. relations with much of Africa. Kind of like sending your daughter off to marry a powerful king to assure peace.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back to Gabs

We're making the trek back to where we just came from on Saturday. Rob has an ELCB music team luncheon to attend on Sunday afternoon and we have an appointment with immigration on Monday morning. Also, Rob has finished the layout for the Shiyeyi Bible Stories so we're handing that off to Lydia on Monday as well. And who knows? Maybe if things are finalized with immigration in the morning we'll finally buy our car in the afternoon… well, maybe not. A bit more research to do on that first, I think. Test drive, for example.

Lydia, as pictured in an online writeup about her when she was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And then the rains came

Well, almost. It's pretty cloudy out there and looking like rain. Thank God! It has cooled off considerably from yesterday and I'm starting to feel alert again. There is a lovely breeze. I'm hoping that when we get back home from the office that it will be a whole new living space.

Recent musical events

Rob records the St Theresa's Mass on the day of Lydia's daughter's wedding (hence the white shirt and pants)

Rob records the ELCB choir conference

At our last night's performance of Handel's Messiah with the Gaborone Music Society

Monday, November 03, 2008

Heated perspective

We loaded up the car on Sunday morning and drove to Francistown. Despite a number of trips to various garages, no one has been able to fix the air con on the old bakkie so we had a pretty hot 5+ hour trip. I arrived with a headache, as happens sometimes on the really hot trips. Our new place is also without air con so I didn't actually get a chance to have my body cool off properly. Yesterday, it was another scorcher. We got a mini-fridge and arrived home to plug it in by 3PM. As of the time we went to bed, it was so hot in the room that the fridge hadn't successfully reached cold yet. Still, we filled it with water bottles and hoped for cold water in the morning (the cold tap was producing hot water now, just from external temp). By 6:30PM, I was fully lethargic and had to lay down for the rest of the evening. I knew I was drinking enough water but just couldn't seem to get on top of the whole temperature thing. I checked and I was a degree above where I should be, though not at externally induced fever yet so I didn't worry. It was a long, sticky night.

This morning, still feeling groggy and achy, I began to get a bit concerned about how my body was taking the heat so poorly. Here we are, in a room for the next month that I can't seem to control the temperature of. I had heard from locals and expats alike that this past year was a very mild year temperature-wise, that we hadn't truly tasted the heat yet. Was this the heat they were talking about? What if I couldn't handle it, as I hadn't been able to handle it the last couple of days? I pulled myself together and went with Rob to the Kalanga Bible Translation Office as he had a meeting to discuss upcoming vernacular media projects in preparation for their upcoming New Testament + Psalms launch in early 2009. When we sat down with the Kalanga team, Portia mentioned that she wasn't feeling well. I commiserated with her. After the meeting, when Rob and I were in another office catching up on our internet things, Portia came in and commented on the heat of yesterday. She said that it had been 42℃ (yes, that's more than 107℉!) outside and 44℃ inside (over 111℉). Yikes! She said that it had been so hot that she couldn't move and that it had never been this hot in her life. I guess temps in the 40s are not unusual in late December but for it to be so hot in November was a real shocker for her. Which made me feel better. So, it's not that I'm somehow defective and can't take the heat like everybody else – everybody else was miserable too. Which doesn't help me with handling the heat. It just makes me feel better about my weaknesses, that it's just part of being a human being in roasting temperatures.

latest newsletter

blasts from the Dancing Sni's past…