Running Life’s Race With A Limp

A Kuria Welcome

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Most people the world over forgive offenses made by newcomers – especially when the error is done in ignorance. We found the statement true, at least among the Kuria. Our failure as green missionaries to extend basic “please-enter-for-a-cup-of-tea” hospitality, drew no further mention from the slighted delegation of  elders. ”Hello, I am Reverend Joseph Muhingira.” I drew comfort being courteously…

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Sensibilities

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Green – Naïve – Novice – Ignorant. String them together and you had my name tag. The rambling house that my wife, myself and our bundle of Julie settled into had been built by missionaries who pioneered the work three decades ahead of our coming. The pioneers had fashioned the dwelling from local soil – rust-tinted bricks fired in a…

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A Sound Of Drums

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“Do you hear something, Hon?” The drum-beat rhythms seemed distant and ill-defined – more like a dream than real. Indeed, for a moment I thought the sound was a dream. But it grew in strength and as we lay wide-eyed in our fully-darkened sleeping quarters, our senses were strained. Time passed slowly. “They’re coming nearer.” Taranganya occupied a tiny dot…

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In A Manner Of Speaking

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“La!” The roundish, baldish, gruffish language tutor prided himself in his home area’s version of the Swahili language. After all, his was the Coast Swahili variety. Only Kenya’s neighbor to the south, Tanzania, could compete with the gold standard Swahili spoken along the teacher’s Indian Ocean region. His voice was raspy, making him seem harsher than he really was. His sudden…

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Tradition Speaks

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My eyebrows furrowed. Thanksgiving. . . Tomorrow? Staring at the American calendar in my hand, I blurted the discovery. “Ann, take a look at this calendar. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving.” “Really? You sure?” For two months Swahili studies had taken most of my time. Noun classes – prefixes – infixes – suffixes – vocabulary. . . my Okie tongue wrestling non-stop with…

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Cajun Surprise

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The joy-stream inside me began as a trickle and broadened soon to a rippling brook, before breaking out in overflow. Like Old Faithful awash in laughter. The contrast was stark. My mood of just moments before had been glum. Merely responding to an inner prompting to laugh surely couldn’t lead to such a free-spirited abundance of peace? Irrational, even hypocritical…

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A Morning Laugh

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The key slipped easily into its slot. I was downtown Nairobi, standing before a bank of metal post office boxes. The bold figures on our assigned box – shared by others of our same mission – read 30207.  Drawing out the few pieces of mail bearing the Lout name I paused at one marked with a Louisiana address. I recognized…

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Psalm Power

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Passing on foot through African wildlife terrain is not advised, especially if unarmed. More especially if unarmed and alone – and after dark. Try as I may, I couldn’t shut my mind to a growing parade of frightful images. . . a Cape Buffalo lifting its’ great head, sniffing the night air to catch my scent. . . a deadly…

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Foreboding

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The further up-river we had driven the more we had felt the VW straining against a different-textured sand, more refined. The VW bogged down. Again and again. My friend’s idea made sense, “Whichever of us is driving the Bug while the other pushes it, the driver must not slow the vehicle, no matter what.” Simple enough. . . The guy behind…

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Song Power

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Jim Reeves. I could recognize the singer’s velvet voice anywhere. The last place I would think to hear it was in Africa’s outback. The country gentleman’s crooning, “Am I that easy to forget?”, floated from a battery-powered cassette player beyond a giant anthill some yards back of me. What power music has, to carry you away, I thought. Feels like…

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