As you have seen over the past two months we have done what we are able to transform our living space to accommodate a family of seven. We take up two ground level rooms; the children in one and Jeri and I in the other. Our room is also the kitchenette, living room, dining room, bedroom, homeschool room, etc. Both rooms have bathrooms with showers which is above and beyond the norm on the base and the living standard of most Africans, we are blessed. The Hospitality Department also went above and beyond getting us a large table and five available chairs. The remaining two children ate on stools or boxes. We ordered some wood from the local carpenter and I set to work building a bench.
With a borrowed plane to smooth out the edges I set to work on my design. As I've mentioned in the past this locally available African wood is hard on my tools. I brought a hand saw, for the "just in case" necessity, but it has turned out to be my most used tool. All this to say we worked diligently on this project just to have the nature of Africa undo our efforts. Rather than collecting commercially treated lumber from Lowes that has been cured, pressed, and treated for maximum flatness we built with lumber that was still green. Without knowing the source of my stock this wood could have still been a tree a week before I got it. Which meant it was still finding its way when I started hammering and glueing it together. If you can make out in the photo the seat of the bench takes a twist. Does it make sitting on it uncomfortable? At first because one leg always popped up and made the whole bench rock.
So I added a post. As soon as I did it it reminded me of all the little additions my grandfather used to construct around their home to repair or accommodate things that were broken. His shop was a living example of reusing every single item that could have dual purpose. We would say he was from another era, a time when there wasn't a Walmart where if something broke you could just pop out and replace it. It involved a phrase we don't use much, "You just have to make do."
We are blessed above most here but we still don't have a Walmart. So we've learned to make do. The Western practices that are not Kingdom principles conveniently get twisted really quickly when we try to force them on African culture or unprocessed lumber. We are learning sometimes poverty just means not having the liberty to make your own choices. Of course with any foreign relocation the missing of home comforts is to be expected. If an In-N-Out Burger gets as far east as Tyler, Texas we will have a talk with God about how long this Clarks in Africa journey will last. Please keep posting your own culinary accomplishments or when that new dine-in movie theater opens but please remember to offer thanks and say a short prayer for the Clarks. We need those reminders of home to offset how much work there is here to share with the people of Uganda to seek the liberty that comes in restored relationship with God.
Thank you for your prayers.