It is the last day of medical training in West Africa, and we are all gathered together for lunch, sitting in the shade in small groups around large plates of food. Afterwards, we share each other’s company and enjoy each other’s fellowship.
“The Iman wants to tell you a story,” Daoud says. Then, sentence by sentence, thought by thought, Daoud translates the Iman’s story:
“You are in [my country],” he says, describing a fantastic, imaginary visit to his land. “I have camels and my five-year-old son rides them. He will put you on the camels, and he will guide you,” the Iman continues, pointing to each of the elders of our church. “We will go out into the desert, and my donkeys will follow you with the tents. When we get to trees, we will lay out matts, and you will rest in the shade. I will kill a sheep for you, and you will eat it. And you will have meat, and a small amout of water… a small amount. We are far away from the well.”
It is very hot in the desert, even in the rainy season, and it is very humid. The tiniest part of shade, whether from a tree branch or the cover of a tent offers vast relief. One feels the sun sharply otherwise.
“Then we will go,” the Iman explains. “You will ride on the camels, and the donkeys with the tents will follow. We will go a long way. And you will see the well. Then, you will take the donkeys to the water. A rope will be tied around them. Each donkeys will carry two boxes [water containers], and you will fill them. Then, you will ride out into the desert.
“You will see thirsty children, and you will give them water. Then, you will see thirsty women, crying in the desert, and you will give them water.”
At this point, Daoud turns to us and says, “This story is about giving life. The well gives life.”
* * * * *
Please continue to visit MountainBible.com for updates about our sojourn in West Africa. A majority of the team will return to the U.S. next week, but Rob and Judy Panza and Mark Adams will remain behind for a while longer. Todd Brown will continue his sojourn in The Gambia a while longer too. Then, he will return to Jamaica, where he is a full-time missionary. Todd’s updates can be found at DrummingfortheNations.com.