So . . . I missed Friday, again. But since I'm on African Time, I figure this will be right on schedule. Despite it being the Wednesday Edition, Five-Minute-Friday is brought to you by the GypsyMama. Rules are simple . . . you get five minutes, type until the timer buzzes, no editing, no polishing, just type. Today's topic: Jump.
Have you ever seen a person who had polio as a child, legs coiled beneath them? Well, have you ever seen a person who had polio jump? Or better yet, do a modified backhand spring?
I hadn't either, until Monday.
Monday it rained. A lot.
It's not rainy season, but it was our second 'mango rain' of the year. And to call it a 'rain' isn't sufficient. It was more of a monsoon . . . for an hour. Leaving the typically tough ground a squishy mud pit.
Normally I leave for lunch at 1pm. But on Monday, I was delayed half an hour . . . as I sloshed and splashed my way home, I noticed a man squatting on the ground just inside the gate of the residence.
'Dude! It's muddy!! What are you doing sitting there??' I thought to myself. But as I inched closer, I realized this gentleman had no other choice. Polio had left it's typical wake of destruction and he was condemned to crawl for the remainder of his life.
'Do you have a wheelchair?' I asked him, already knowing the answer.
He looked at me as if I was the stupidest woman he had ever encountered. 'No.' he said.
'I'll give you one.'
'I said, I don't have one.'
'I know, I'm going to give you one. I'll be right back!'
He sat there a little confused as I ran back to my office to grab a wheelchair.
[timer just rang . . . and I haven't even gotten to the jumping part . . . so for your sake, I'll keep going!]
When I arrived back, his eyes widened, 'Is that for me?' he humbly asked.
'Yes. No more crawling.'
'Praise be the name of Jesus Christ!'
Turns out, for nearly sixty years, this pastor has crawled through dirt, dust, mud and filth in order to share the love of God with his fellow Bouzou people. Not anymore!
He had traveled over an hour in bush taxis to come and visit his friend; his pants and tunic were soaked through from the rain. Covered in mud, because he had crawled down from the main road . . . for the last time.
I showed him how to safely use his new chair. I talked him through how he could climb up into the chair, and gently lower himself to the ground again. Then I stood up and encouraged him to give it a try.
He crawled to the base of the chair, put his hands on the foot rest and like a well trained gymnast, he lifted his body to join his hands.
Without pause, he lifted himself again, this time, legs in the air like an acrobat . . . from his handstand, he sprung upward, into the chair. Perfect landing.
Triumph. Pride. Joy. Overwhelming gratitude. It was all written across his face.