(Note: This post is post-dated for the day it was written, not the day it was posted.)
Class started this afternoon. I had 2 hours of class, and we were able to get through introductions and I did an overview of what we will cover this semester. I have 8 students, from 7 language groups, and they are in their 3rd year Master’s program in Translation.
It’s amazing to see how far they get by relying on each other. There are few personal resources, as most people can’t work as they do their studies. Teachers come in, share their knowledge, and go. A crate of notepads came from a mission team, and the administration was able to give one to each student. There is a sign in the library…actually the second largest library I’ve seen in Cameroon (thanks to some partners)….that says “Knowledge available, bring your own container”.
These students come here, having dedicated their lives to God, to get the best education they can and serve the Lord. In a land where an intelligent person might become a doctor or especially a politician, and can guarantee prosperity for their children, they choose a hard, yet rewarding life. They are truly storing up treasures in heaven. I may be able to teach them about translations software, but I should be learning from them about perseverance and passion.
Some of the rooms still have dirt floors. Best I can figure, local power is out every night from 9pm-10am, except Wed and Sunday where it is reversed, and you only get it at night. This turns out to be a problem as I try to charge up and ration my batteries for a day of teaching. Internet service here has been out since September. My lodgings are quite nice, an obvious contrast from the situations of the students. I heard someone justify this on Monday, saying that it is not that visiting professors deserved better lodging, but that if visiting professors are comfortable here, they are likely to come back. It’s striking how much comfort and options drive a westerner’s life. If we’re not comfortable on public transportation, we drive ourselves. If we’re not comfortable with our job, we go look for another. No, our resources are not unlimited, as many Africans think, but sometimes it seems our options are.
Lord, please help me to be continually guided by love, calling and by need, not by my own comfort level. Remind me that good things are often hard, and be with me. Take this time at Ndu to improve my character, so that I will not be like shifting sands, knowing that challenges produce perseverance, perseverance produces character.