Another Day in Bere

2009 September 20

Here is a portion of my journal entry for last Thursday.

17.September.2009 I awoke from a deep sleep. I did not look at the time, but it was early in the morning, probably 2 or 3 o'clock. "Why did I awaken?" I wondered. Soon I heard the leaves rustling in the guava tree outside my window. Then I heard "snap... snap..." as the guavas were being picked. Thump... thump... went a few guavas as they hit the ground. People steal the guavas during the daylight; why would they bother to do it at night? I sat up in bed and looked out the window. A thin cloud cover blocked any starlight that might have helped me see the intruders. Whoever they were, they were not talking or even whispering to each other, and they were not using flashlights. The rustling and snapping continued as the ripening guavas were being harvested. Then, I heard the "fwoof-fwoof-fwoof" of a sizable beast flying away. Then I knew that these thieves were not people. They were bats, and quite happy bats, I might add, if a full bat equals a happy bat. These fruit-eating monsters moved on after a while and I drifted off to sleep.

My first human visitor arrived around 0530, wanting me to pay for a patient I had trasported to the clinic.

Later, I looked under the guava tree and found some ripe fruit with rows of teeth marks. I resisted the urge to eat the delicious-looking fruit for fear of getting a disease from the bat.

After eating my porridge, I left for the worksite.

Part of the morning I spent digging up the yellow clay by Jeremy's well and transporting it to Gary's house for the floor. Elsie and the other hired workers continued brickwork. They called me over to look at the second snake they had killed since yesterday. Later, I policed the airstrip for termite mounds. Multiple small termite mounds have popped up here and there, but small does not mean harmless. Although most are less than eight inches tall, they are nearly as hard as cement and could potentially do mighty bad things to an airplane. Rainy season is coming to a close, and the runway is slowly improving and will be usable again shortly. After finishing that task, I continued transporting dirt at the construction site while my mind worked on house plans and problems. The temperature was likely above 100 degrees F today, and I became quite tired, dehydrated, and soaked in sweat. I decided to take a break and eat some lunch. I believe my brain was not on it's most alert mode, as is illustrated as this day continued.

Hopping on the motorbike, I began driving at a walking pace through the deep grass between me and the cassava field. I wanted to check on it before returning home. Suddenly, a burst of adrenaline shot through my whole body. Several months back, we had hired some people to dig four deep footings for a water tower we plan to build. Now, the deep grass has grown up around the holes, partially concealing them. These four massive holes, about a meter square and two meters deep, are each plenty big enough to swallow a man and a motorcycle. In a slight right turn, I was headed for the hole on the left. Somehow I thought several things in that instant. "This is going to hurt." "I wonder how one lifts a motorbike out of a hole like this?" "There's no way I'm going to miss this hole; I'm leaning the wrong way." My right leg, the one required for breaking, cramped up. I instinctively disengaged the clutch with my left hand and tried to turn left. I fully expected to drop painfully into the hole, but the tires narrowly (by centimeters) missed the plunge, or so I thought.

I cannot figure out the physics of how I missed the hole, and I suppose I never shall. I was turning to the right, toward the hole. Then I was leaning left and missed the whole, as if there was a repelling force within the hole. I went back a bit later and found the path the tire took. The distance between the sides of the hole at that point was greater than half the diameter of the wheel. (I've attached a picture Moto path showing the actual path the tires took, according to bent grass blades and disturbed dirt...) The tire rolled over the corner of the deep hole and should have slipped in, but I do not remember feeling even a bump. One of my workers observed what had happened earlier and later just shook his head and wagged his finger at me in disbelief. I believe there was a repelling force. One force of evil wanted to see me maimed or injured, while the other Force spared me from serious harm. Thank You, God, for sending Your angels to protect me in times like this when I am conscious of them and in times when I do not know I was in danger.

As I enjoyed lunch, I began to hear wailing and drums not too far away in the village. Somebody else has died and the people will probably be making noise all night again.

In addition to three white people, five locals came to our Bible study group tonight. We looked through some promises about God's forgiveness. When question and answer time started, I could tell that these people are thinking and that they are recognizing truth in the Scriptures. My prayer is that they will have the courage to act on their knowledge.

The study is over and I go outside to pick a few more guavas for my supper. Drums are beating and wailing continues.

"Just another day in Bere" is ending, and I am looking forward to resting before another day begins.

My family sent me a book from my collection back home. I received it just this week, and in it I read this paragraph: "God is constantly at work for the good of His creatures.... Times without number God has interposed to avert death, to keep men, women, and children in safety when Satan purposed a result wholly disastrous." And another paragraph: "The angels of God, thousands upon thousands, ... guard us against evil and press back the powers of darkness that are seeking our destrucction. Gave we not reason to be thankful every moment, thankful even when there are apparent difficultiess in our pathway?"

Jonathan