FFC - 12/08/19 - Juniper

JuniperJ

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It's not like anywhere we've ever been. The houses, if you could call them that, are made of sticks and mud, and many of them don't have any doors. They have openings, of course, but often there's just a ratty old curtain hanging there. I guess it's warm enough, but still, how do you knock on a door that's not there? Nonetheless, we will persevere with our mission. We were told that this village has had previous exposure to outsiders, and some of them should understand us.

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The funny men come here almost every day, tapping at our doorways with their fists. We all have theories about them, especially about the tapping. Amani thinks it's a curse. Neema thinks it's a game. Ashe thinks they are spies. Lonyokie knows some of the language and said they are talking about danger, being saved from something, and fire. He thinks they are trying to warn us about something.

They carry small books with a lot of strange markings and a few pictures. Amani finds one and burns it, saying prayers of protection. But Neema has already seen the pictures, and she wants one.
I watch and wait. When I see them approaching, I come to the house, bringing a large, ripe jackfruit from our tree. They are our guests, so I must give them something. I greet them. I gesture for them to sit, but they remain standing, so I do as well.

They begin speaking to me in their language. I don't remember even the words Lonyokie has taught me. I watch their faces and try to mirror their expressions and gestures. I make some small noises and repeat some of the words. This seems to please them. After a long time, they close their eyes, put their hands on my shoulders, and say more strange words. I see why Amani thinks they bring curses. But they do not seem evil. I think they are harmless. And Neema will like her little book.

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We are breaking through. Today a man hurried up to the house as soon as we came, as if he'd been waiting for us. He greeted us happily and seemed to be listening intently. He must be one of the ones who understands. I could tell by the expressions on his face. When I offered him a booklet, he was very happy to receive it, and he even gave us a strange, prickly fruit. We have no idea what to do with it, but praise God, our work here has not been in vain!