Sunday, January 21, 2007

Man points: +2

So this week I have earned quite a few "man points". What is a man point? A man point is bequeathed to you any time that you undertake and accomplish something that would be considered incredibly manly. For example, you could throw a really heavy stone a long distance, maybe you could build a really big fire or build a car with just a hammer and a screwdriver-something along those lines. That is how you earn man points. Girls like guys with lots of man points.

So how have I earned man points this week? By bending 3 inch metal GI pipe with my bare hands. Okay, well maybe my bare hands were holding a grinder for cutting the pipe and maybe someone else's bare hands were holding the welder to weld the angle shut once I had cut the notch out, but when it comes down to it we were bending big chunks of metal and on top of that - even though it's not a requirement for man points – we were actually building something useful.

I'm thinking about taking out one of those romance classifieds when I get back to the states:

SWMM (single white manly male) seeking SF (single female). SWMM can bend metal with his bare hands. Applications now being accepted. Please call Jenny at 867-5309.

On a more serious note, the pipes that we were bending are for the Ngite-Butogo GFS water project that Michael and I have been eagerly awaiting. Technically it's not really started for us yet, we are still awaiting some government approvals and planning, but in the meantime we've been doing some preparation work. The pipes that I'm working on will be mounted along a rock wall (c.f. previous blog: I love my job!) alongside an existing pipeline. This section of the pipeline has to be custom built out of metal piping so that it will sit snuggly against the wall (wait did I just use the word snuggle when referring to a 3 inch metal pipe?).

Early next week I face a challenge of fabricating a 'Y' joint out of straight pipe so that the water will split from the intake into the two pipes. (Insider trading tip: ladies - buy your Josh stock now – man points are about to go through the roof!). I'll let you know how that adventure turns out.

If you'll allow me to use a clich̩ monolog segue, I'm going to change gears (if you knew how long I spent trying to work the spell-check to figure out how to spell segue you would laugh for a long, hard time Рand I'm still not even sure I came up with the right word).

One of the joyful and sorrowful things about ministering to those around you is that you enter into their lives, both the good and the bad. This afternoon I went with Kizza, one of the workers in the workshop to visit his son, Innocent, at the health center. Innocent has sickle cell disease and was in the clinic to receive a blood transfusion. I sat across from Innocent on the bed next to his. It was a sorrowful scene. On his bed next to him were piled on his mother, Annette, his younger brother, Lucky, and the youngest, Hope. The clouds outside were dreary and gray threatening rain. I tried to make small talk as the children continued to shyly sneak looks at me when I was looking the other way. I prayed silently for Innocent. A chicken walked by (yes inside the hospital room). In my broken and hesitant lubwisi I told the chicken to go home – Coco, Ogende Eka (Chicken – you go home). Everyone in the ward had a good laugh at that. As I left Annette said, "Wabele Kovola" or thank you for visiting.

As I have been thinking about it afterwards, there is great joy in knowing that life won't always be so broken. The promise and hope that we have in Christ and in the restoration and redemption of life give us as Christians that joy. It is because of this comfort that we receive that we are able to comfort others as the Apostle Paul says.

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