Friday, September 17, 2010
The Boogie Man
The six-year-old girl tosses her braids defiantly and shakes her head no as her mother tells her to hike down to the spring to fetch a bucket of water. “You better obey me,” her mother warns, “or else the vaza will come to take you away!”
This widespread tale about white people stealing children sometimes results in children running away as we first approach a village. Sadly, there is truth to the child trafficking, but in many places it is used as a scare tactic by parents to get their children to obey…like the Boogie Man, the Little White Men in Their Little White Coats, Pegleg (whatever name that terrorizing creature took when you were a child).
Did we ever turn the tables on the parents today! *grin*
I have sat through many a medical lecture, and know it is much more fun and memorable if something other than just talking happens. So while teaching about disease transmission in the village, we added a little game…
The fashionable, yet appropriately scary, Bacteria Woman stealthily looks to see who she should pursue. Chasing everyone from women with babies on their backs to the chief, all were falling prey to her attack! The only thing stopping her was if they yelled out one of the ways they had just heard to stop the bacteria: “Wash your hands! Boil water!” Only then would this frightening infectious organism - known to most as Heather - turn away from certain disaster.
Were there moments of shock and fear as the crazy vaza bacteria dashed towards them? For sure. Are the people of the forest going to be talking for months about bacteria? You bet. ;)
At first we thought that we would teach the women of the village. When we went to get permission from the chiefs, they said, “But can we not come? We want to come, too!”
Random thoughts from the trail if you want more…
On the fourth time I successfully crossed the log bridge I fell off of weeks ago, I felt like I finally acquired the skill of bridge-balancing (thank you WiiFit balance games)! ;)
Watching the children play in the muddy rice field ponds of Ampitivanana, my heart sinks because this is exactly how they get worms…yet how can I ask them to give up frolicking in the one place that can keep them cool in the summer? And speaking of worms, we gave out nearly 300 de-worming pills between the two villages! I am sure that there will be many stomachs feeling better and many children excited to check out the worms in their poop in the next couple days... :P
Surprisingly, this three day medical trip turned out to be a nice spiritual retreat. With the teaching occurring in the early morning and late afternoon, it gave Heather, Mirana, and I time to nap and have some sweet times with our Lord! I thank Him for this unexpected blessing.
Each time you enter a village or want to do anything in it, you speak with the mpanjaka (chiefs). While talking with the chiefs of Ampitivanana, they mentioned that they are ready to worship God first and the ancestors second. We spoke of our Jealous God and they agreed that it is good to worship God, but “can’t” stop worshiping their ancestors. “We still think it will be okay as long as we just worship God more,” they said, “but we are very glad that you stimulated our minds which are often asleep.” Ask that our Father would continue to keep their minds stimulated!