When in Africa…[Of Villages, Safaris, and Two Dead Goats.]

We gave out soap in one of the villages that we visited, and someone brought along balloons for the kids. They were so cute!

I could have used about nine more cups of coffee last early Thursday morning, but Africa has taught me that dehydration is infinitely preferable to needing a bathroom in the midst of a trek across the barren African landscape. We unceremoniously stuffed 35 people into the oversized, rickety white clown car masquerading as our “bus”, and with a painful groan timidly rolled out onto the grimy streets of Dakar. As we scrambled to squeeze five sets of hips into each tiny row, I found myself wishing I’d started my “absolutely no rice unless I’m with a student” policy a couple of weeks earlier. [A policy that’s rather ineffective anyways when you simply replace rice with French fries.]

Hips and all, we were hurtling towards the villages we’d be working in for the next several days at a breakneck speed of no less than 14 MPH. The “little engine that could” did not, of course, have AC, but the sultry African air whispering through the open windows offered a fleeting distraction from the relentless heat. We became the unfamiliar instantaneous celebrities in three different villages over the course of two days. We were there to show a film called “The Jesus Film”-

With wild zebras!

essentially, a movie depicting Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. It’s a great tool to use with people that aren’t familiar with the gospel and are not able to read the Bible for themselves-and as we understood it, the remote, largely illiterate African villages we were going to be working in had little to no access to the gospel. These were villages that predominately spoke Serai-an African dialect that unfortunately enough, no one on my team can so much as count to three in. Thus, we relied on the help of several translators to get from Serai to Wolof to French to English-which was in itself something akin to a rather impressive, globally savvy game of  “telephone”.

Housing in one of the villages.

Over the course of two nights, we showed the film three different times. What a fascinating thing it is to share the gospel with someone to whom it is entirely new and enthralling-it causes you to notice the places in your life where Jesus has become dull and routine. There was nothing dull about the gospel those nights-as the crowds watched Jesus heal the blind and resurrect the dead, they erupted into elated, spontaneous applause! There is something wildly attractive about a Savior that restores pieces of a dreadfully broken world in a beautiful promise to one day redeem and restore the rest of it. To people that have only ever known the fear of animistic Islam [an interesting African spin on traditional Islam], the idea of grace is both impossibly confusing and irresistibly compelling. Against the crushing backdrop of detailed rituals and rules, unconditional love sounds too impossibly good to be true. And yet, there is an irrepressible, secret longing from deep within all of our souls that resonates with

Note the trash.

the idea of grace and has an unquenchable thirst for the God that is relentlessly pursuing our hearts.

While in the villages, the men all decided to kill two goats for lunch one day. When in Africa…

I have no moral objection to the idea of killing animals, and had even intended to watch them do it until I saw the endearing little things. One glance at those soft brown eyes and I realized that I could no more watch their throats be slit than slug a golden retriever puppy with a baseball bat. [And take it from one who now knows-don’t name your food before you kill it.] Matt captured the whole gruesome experience with my camera, and I enjoyed eating grilled goat chunks for lunch. [Me, Jane.]

My safari group.

Our debrief location was serendipitously situated in the middle of the most green I’ve seen in Senegal-and was right

Goat killing time. Apparently, this is how men bond.

next to a fantastic pool. I think the coolest part of the debrief time was when we all headed out on a safari—something I haven’t done since high school when I first came to Africa. Much to our chagrin, our truck wasn’t charged by a single animal-but we did see zebras, rhinos, and giraffes! [Oh my!]

And so here I sit, with just over two days left before I fly over the ocean on Monday. We dropped the SP off at the airport early this morning, and now it’s time to tackle a rather alarming to-do list of things that have piled up over the past week…


  1. Please tell me the little hind legs are not the last photo taken of the precious creatures are they? Seriously…..enjoy getting ready to go back home! I’m a little jealous! You could visit ChickfilA starbucks (decaffe with soy) and target all in one day. Man. Now that is heaven, I don’t care what anyone says. :P Hugs!!!

  2. Sadly, both of the little guys in that picture ended up on a giant grill about half an hour after it was taken. :) I’ll definitely hit up Chik-fil-a and Starbucks for you–I can’t get over the fact that the day after tomorrow, I get a venti caramel latte! Divine. We’ll have to hit a Starbucks together in August-I’m so excited to see y’all!

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