[This is an abriged version of my full newsletter, if you'd like to recieve that as well dont hesitate to contact me!]
Fun fact: The above picture isn't Mordor, but I kept an eye out for hobbits anyways. I think I’ll avoid the intended and unwarranted cultural rant I planned for this month and try to better orient us to this place instead. What better way to do that than go for a run! Grab your shoes.
The alarm goes off promptly as 5:47, yep I’m one of those people. I count my descent down the stairs as my warm up stretching as I try to shake the sleep induced fog from my head. I ease the iron gate of our apartment building open. It creaks noisily but doesn’t wake our snoozing guard or the group of men slumbering on cardboard sheets against our outer wall. As I make my way across a soon to be busy road towards the football (*cough* soccer) stadium comfortably situated in the middle of a dusty field, I catch more than a few inquisitive looks. They’ll only increase as the neighborhood starts to wake up though. The only thing stranger than westerners here is a westerner running. As soon as I’m clear of the road and encroaching on the stadium’s dust bowl I break into my run following the curvature of the stadium’s outer wall. At one point I have to make a quick aversion from my normal path. What I thought was a harmless pile of old rags was actually a man sprawled out asleep; people tend to just lie where they fall around here. Towards the far side of the stadium I hurdle a small drainage ditch emptying from the stadium, I saw a grown man bathing in it a week ago. Once I finally reach the far side of the stadium complex I can jump onto a wide road with dependable sidewalks and keep running north with a dry wadi on one side and an assortment of dry storage ports on the other.
The road is littered with people walking in from the surrounding slums, a few AWOL donkeys, and crows…lots of crows. They’re the ones who wake the rooster. Mopeds and taxis pass with friendly (or unfriendly, I cant tell the difference but I try to assume the best) honks. The worst is the fleet of Ethiopian cargo trucks that roar past occasionally. This place produces no natural resources so it imports everything, and their carriers like to pass me early in the morning and blow who knows what into the air I’m breathing. I reach a mile marked off by a roundabout and circle back the way I came. The sun is creeping up over the shanty town on the hill in the distance, and cargo ships bob lazily in the bay to my right. It’s sort of beautiful, in a broken, chaotic, and unusual sort of way. Just like living overseas is sort of beautiful…in a broken, chaotic, unusual sort of way.
Please continue to pray for my cultural adjustment, it has been hard. Our God is at work here, pray that I will have eyes to see how and can join what he is already doing.