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You Want to Go Where?

  • August 7, 2017 08:20 am
  • by: Roger Varland, Rift Valley Academy, Kenya

Passports

Was that Addis Ababa or Antananarivo? Bujumbura or Dar Es Salam? Direct to Joburg or connecting in Kigali? Such are the questions of my days since moving into the student travel office to cover for someone who has returned to the States. When the superintendent mentioned that he needed a replacement, I mumbled something about liking logistics and a month later was handed the keys. I’m still teaching three periods and travel trivia is filling the rest of my time.

Along with flight destinations, the variety of passports is a reminder of the mission community’s transience. While the issuing country is the apparent answer to “Where’s home?” a better clue is the myriad of visas, permits, and entry/exit stamps that fill the pages. In fact, when asked, “Where are you from?” I often wonder if students are mentally thumbing the pages of their passports in hopes of jogging their memory or determining a majority of time spent in one place.

This lack of rootedness can, in fact, shadow them in the years ahead, causing many of them to see the whole globe as a place to take up life. When I look at the seniors in my economics class, it is easy to see they’ll be bringing a different perspective on the world when they land in college come September. It will be hard for them to have patience with those who refer to Africa as a country or have no sense of what the world is like beyond their borders. At the same time, they’ll have to figure out the nuances of American culture beyond converting shillings to dollars and remembering to check their tongues before addressing anyone who is black in Swahili.

Travel Office so far? Pretty smooth, but check with me on July 18 after the last of the Korean students have been dropped at Jomo Kenyatta airport for their flight to Abu Dhabi with a connection to Inchon.

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Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church is a Biblical community, in which people from all walks of life join together to worship our amazing God, grow in knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ,  connect with one another to find acceptance and friendship in the Body of believers, and then scatter to serve the world and our community in order to build God’s Kingdom here on earth.