How do you handle your week when 80% of your time must be rescheduled? I find it discouraging, but am managing to adjust!
So what happened? Sunday and Monday mornings there were some classes between bandits and the Cameroonian military in Cantonnier, the Central African town just over the border. I can’t even call them rebels. These are people, mostly men, who have weapons and are using them to extort money and goods from those around them. They seem to believe that they can do whatever they want, when and wherever they want. They also don’t seem to recognize that there is a difference between CAR and Cameroon. So, they don’t show respect for the border nor the Cameroonian soldiers. The Cameroonians have responded strongly. Part of the response has been to close the border – no one can cross. I can say that I have been safe; the trouble was not in Garoua Boulai. Mostly, I, as everyone else on both sides of the border, have had to adjust to the fact that people and goods have not been permitted across the border.
So what did I do instead? Well, I gave myself a haircut, but I am out of practice. Of course, how can one say she is out of practice when she has done it only once before? It is a challenge to cut your own hair using the bathroom mirror (having to account for the fact that the hand in the mirror is going the opposite direction…). I also have decided that it would be easier with a third hand. Still, I figure there’s not much risk in the process since hair grows back easily – and I am happier with it shorter! (I have also discovered that I am not good at selfies. Taking them is less of a problem than smiling and looking even normal… I think I inherited it from my mother.)
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) team was in GB for a couple of days. Anne Wangari (from Kenya) stayed in the guest room at my house. We have some good conversations about their work, her past experiences, and current needs.
I have also agreed to teach an extra class at the Bible School. Two of the three regular professors are out of town for meetings/obligations. So, I am using some of my extra time to help out (I offered) and to get ahead for when I have to be away and can’t teach my regular Wednesday class. But, now that has been rescheduled, too. The third professor told the students that he was called to N’gaoundéré for an emergency leaving at 4 a.m. It POURED rain this morning so the regular 7:30 a.m. meditation was delayed. I went to talk to the students about 9:30 and they explained the situation to me. I agreed to postpone my class so that they could go to find firewood to sell. They need money to live since their living expenses have not arrived yet and the Bible School is being asked to give their Harvest Offering on Sunday.
What else? I have been working on planning lessons, talking to people on the phone, reading some books (for pleasure), and watching a couple of DVDs on my computer.
I walked into town to the market and saw much more traffic than usual, including some large UN trucks headed to the Central African Republic. The border has been reopened. Good.
Now that the border is open again, let’s hope and pray that the bandits have been convinced to stop their bullying behaviors and that people on both sides of the border can get the food and goods they need. And, that I can go back to previously scheduled meetings! (First one already rescheduled for tomorrow…)