Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Journey to Africa and Beyond Part 6

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5

My first assignment was in the chapel. There was dry wall to hang (HA!) Ceiling to be painted (HA!) and various other things I was not qualified for. They convinced me I'd be able to do it. So there I was with a hammer and nails (used, many crooked) ready to work. A few short minutes later they were finding me something else to do. They had me climbing up on this scaffolding that was not safe at all. I don't remember what I was going to be doing up there... painting, I think. I finally was able to climb to the top and was laying down holding on for my life! A few short minutes later they were finding me a new location to work in. Yes, I was fired. But I was not alone. One other person was asked to leave as well. They were nice about it for sure, but they said I might be better suited for some other work.

Part of the team was replacing some windows in one of the buildings, and another part were working in the office, and another part was painting some dorm rooms. They seemed to be pretty well covered, so I was sent to the wood shop. Immediately, memories of Junior High shop class flashed in my head... they were not pretty thoughts.

This is where I met Isaac. He and I spent many hours together over the many days I was there. He lived far away and traveled a couple of hours to and from work each day. The university only hires Christians. And Isaac had Jesus all over him. He was kind, gentle and extremely patient. Don't worry, I didn't use any power tools.

One of the tools they do use there for just about everything is turpentine. They use it to remove paint (of course), to clean, to soften glue on the windows they were removing...everything. If there was something that needed to be done, you can pretty much bet there would be turpentine nearby.

So in the wood shop, they brought out a bunch of picture frames. Just like the ladders and scaffolding, they made their own picture frames. So they needed a little sanding. So I sanded. For many days, I sanded. There must have been a hundred of them, though I probably only saw 20 at a time.

Then they brought what looked like black boxes. A closer look revealed they were wood boxes covered in felt. Someone had already glued the felt to the boxes, which it turned out were actually inserts for the picture frames. One thing about glue on black felt... it makes a mess, and whoever did the gluing didn't really try to make sure there wasn't glue everywhere.

That's where I came in. Armed with a scrub brush and a bottle of turpentine, I went to work... pouring turpentine on the brush, and scrubbing to get rid of the excess glue and residue. They were making awards for their 10 year anniversary celebration happening a few weeks after we would leave. So for the next several days, I scraped glue off of picture frames in Africa.

As I worked, I got to know Isaac and his friends. We talked about our lives and how different they were. We sang a few songs now and then, and I sanded, and poured, and brushed, and scraped. And I just kept thinking, "Is this Africa?"

to be continued...   Part 7

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing with us Karen! I can't wait to read the rest of the story!!