THE COLOR ORANGE
The place of dreams, of rising sun,
Burnt to orange when day is done.
There is a place far over there–
My soul’s true light, well lit her lair.
On dusty roads of rusty hue,
On tangerines where orange is true:
Long ago finding fare, out of darkness finding truth:”The lattice of my heart saw fair.”
East Africa, 1970-1974: My formative adolescent years were formed by her oranges: from the ubiquitous cooking fires to the rusty orange roads to the bright bowl of tangerines my mother always had by our orange-cushioned couch. Flame Trees of Thika or Out of Africa or Snows of Kilmanjaro provide an adequate taste, suggesting the power and pull of that lifeblood that Africa pours into your veins. Africa gets in your blood.
And so, I’m going back. Then I was young and now I am…old-er. Then I was hungrily wandering and now I am fully intentional, but both then and now I have questions and lessons to be learned. She will show me once again. but this time I hope to teach her–to help her through her biggest asset: her people. I’m in her blood and she’s in mine; I’m one of the many bitten by the Africa Bug.
That’s the why. Next the how: One of my high school friends in Rift Valley Academy has been ministering–teaching, preaching, travelling–in East Africa for decades. She and her husband, the chancellor of Pan Africa Christian University, have invited me to spend next term there developing an ESOL program and Academic Learning Center. I am thrilled, honored and excited to begin making the many preparations needed: from passport and visa, to travel bookings and inoculations, to lesson preparation and packing.
In 1970 my family moved from a small city on the flat, dry Canadian prairies to the lush, tropical foliage of Mt. Kilimanjaro. And in 2017 I will go leave a huge, verdant, American city to return to the highlands and savannahs of Africa. The circle of life.