Leadership seminars

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
Trip End Feb 04, 2013

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Flag of Cote D  , Dix-Huit Montagnes,
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This morning I had a shower! The water gurgled to life as I was getting out of bed and after a few minutes there was warmish water. The hand-held shower head leaks all over the place as they often do in France, there was hardly any water pressure, the "hot" water was lukewarm at best, but what a wonderful shower! Little Franz was in the usual corner.

After my shower I filled the sink, the plug didn't fit well and I had to keep the water running so I could wash some clothes, We don’t know how long the water will remain on, and to continue wearing clean socks, underwear and shirts will be very welcome.

We left for breakfast at 07:00, and had our usual. The Brioche also decided to raise their prices on us; they decided to start charging us for the cup of mineral water they had been including in the price of the coffee. I guess we must have crossed a threshold yesterday and people decided they had us hooked. It’s a total of 20 cents each, so we’ll come back; there isn't really any other place like this one in town and we've never had issues with the quality of the food. They appear to be the only show in town; so I guess maybe they did have us hooked, at least for .20.

We went back to the Cyber-center so I could print copies of my notes and handout for the leadership presentations I was going to give. I discussed with the employee how much dust is such a huge problem for computers and printers here. Widows don’t seal, they’re made my multiple horizontal panes that rotate open and closed to let any breeze in. So even closed they don’t keep the fine African dust out. Machines must be covered in thick cloth when not in use, and even at that they have a shorter lifespan that in the West.

After we printed the handout, we drove to a photocopy shop to make copies, then to a papéterie (paper shop) to buy notebooks and pens for everyone. They may already have some, but these are always welcome gifts. It can be surprising how hard it is to find a piece of paper and a pen when you need one here. After that we drove to the church hall, and waited half an hour for everyone to arrive. Those invited were leaders in their areas, and all could read and write, which is not the case for many people in this region.

I gave three presentations. The first was the introduction to COGWA, many of these men came from other areas and hadn't seen in on Saturday. Then I showed a PowerPoint presentation on proper priorities for Christian leaders. This lasted about two hours with time for questions of which there were many. We took a half-hour break and we distributed bags of purified water to everyone. Then I gave a ninety-minute presentation on faithfulness – a key quality for Christian leaders, and left another half an hour for questions and discussion. Those present thanked me several times for the presentations. They took lots of notes and asked thoughtful follow-up questions such as:

-         What is the church’s position on polygamy?
-         What does a man who has several wives do when he comes to the truth?
-         What can tithe money be used for?
-         What is festival tithe used for and how is it calculated?

By time we were winding down, it was getting too hot to concentrate, and some men had a long way to travel to return home. Two men had ridden their bicycles from Yapleu, which takes about 90 minutes to reach by car.

I bought everyone lunch at a nearby maquis at the cost of about $1.20 each. The patrone told us it was rice and deer on the menu. Deer is “bushmeat” and about the only clean bushmeat there is. Others include monkey, agouti (a large rodent, rather like a giant rat), giant forest snails, forest crabs and so on. Deer would be the most appreciated, and it’s quite rare to find in my experience. So I wasn't convinced this was really deer, and decided not to chance it. Others acted according to their consciences. When I looked, the rib bones seemed awfully small; it would have to have to have been a deer the size of a dik-dik, and I those don’t live around here to my knowledge. Since they don't provide knives to customers, one of the waitresses with a knife came around after a few minutes and cut all the customers' meat for them, one after the other.

After the meal, I paid for bush-taxi transportation for those who had come to the seminar at their own expense, so everyone could get home before dark. We drove back to the hotel where I had a few hours rest; I slept a bit to make up for my uneven nights and firm mattress…. We had dinner at a maquis called la Maison Blanche (the White House), I joked to Paul and Séussié that we might bump into Mr. Obama, and they thought that was quite funny. The White House was quieter; the food acceptable, but had smaller portions at similar prices. We’ll see if we’re sick tonight or tomorrow, so we can judge the quality of the food.
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Tess Washington on

It is a delight about this blog! So good to know that they have inquiring minds and eager to know the truth! Thank you Mr. Meeker!

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