The African dawn comes early on the equator.
Before the sun even pops up over the horizon (between 6-6:30 a.m.), the “I’m Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” bird (anyone remember him?) is the first to arise in our neighborhood. Unlike the TV version, the repetitive refrain of this feathered friend is tranquil and mellow, gently prodding us out of sleep, quietly announcing that once again, it’s almost time to “rise and shine”.
The red-breasted cuckoo is also awake with a similar, abbreviated call. This bird is very ubiquitous to all the places we’ve ever lived in Kenya. In fact, nothing assures us more that we’re “home in Africa” like this guy’s soft, three-noted coo, quietly calling to us through the early morning mist.
Of course, as anyone who has ever spent time in Kenya knows, one doesn’t need an alarm clock when there are Hadada ibis birds to perform this function for you. These long-beaked stalkers, unlike their soft, melodic choir-mates, have a particularly grating, harsh sound (noise). No oversleeping when they fly by, singly or en masse.
With over 1100 recorded species of birds in Kenya alone, these three early birds are soon joined by many more: chirpers and warblers, minstrels and crooners, all intent on welcoming each new day by singing together in joyful, blended harmony; just as they were created to do.
Extravagance at dawn…new every morning.
We’ve been clicking along here at Kabarak, making our way “slowly by slowly” through the semester and adjusting to life on this side; almost five months now. Some days are harder than others; some days are routine; and some, thankfully, have been just downright wonderful.
My students have been “slowly by slowly” coming around to the idea that they can get to class on time, which means fewer “rants” from me, and more productive time for them…
This is a good thing.
Changes are also occurring in the Health Sciences Administration. The Dean has hired an Administrative Assistant and has appointed an acting Head of Nursing, both welcome steps in bringing order into the chaos that had pretty much been the norm in our department, up till now.
The Kabarak Faculty Senate also just passed a recommendation, pushed by Dr. Bruce and colleagues, that assessments for all courses be CHANGED from 30/70 (30% total for all “formative assessments”, i.e., all papers, quizzes, tests during the semester; 70% for the final exam) to 50/50. This is a HUGE DEAL, which should help stem the worrying tide of having almost one-third of our students fail at least one course per semester (yes, you read that right).
Home Front: the water/power situation has become more tolerable since we “junked” the instant hot shower (where “scalding” was the only temperature due to lack of water pressure) in favor of the “old-fashioned” hot water heater. Now, we have control (ha-HA!) over the “hot-cold” feature; a most welcome improvement.
We just need to be flexible to take those showers during times when both water and power are there.
Small mercies of life. Fresh and new, every morning. No matter what has happened in the days/weeks/months before.
Each and every day, another chance, another opportunity to
- Work on attitudes
- Deepen growing relationships
- Learn from colleagues
- Do hard work
Share the Treasure.
And, when we blow it, we will take heart in knowing that, Lord willing, another day awaits us; another African dawn will come to sing us awake.
Sing us awake to a new day for Redemption, a new day for Grace.
Call us awake to the realities of His Extravagant Mercies for us, which are