Hello from Canchungo!
It is a different life here in Africa. Even though we are on the other side of the world, we are not so different from one another. Genesis tells us God made us in His image. No matter who we are with, we must recognize others as fellow image bearers. As I read Genesis 1:26-31 I picture the village Tame (pronounced like Tom). After God makes living creatures – livestock, beasts and creeping things (which are all found in an African village) – He creates man in His image. He then gives man dominion over all the living creatures, and has also given every plant and tree that gives fruit to eat.
This village displays God’s amazing provision for His people. They eat from any plant and tree that yields fruit, and they are wildly creative in the way they use everything around them – from the sand used to scrub their pots and buckets to the branches and long leaves used to create fencing – leaving nothing to waste.
A character of God I see displayed in Tame is living in community. While each family may live independently, they are all part of the larger community. If the family to your left behind the shade tree needs help with something, you all go and help. Tomorrow you made need help, and you know your neighbor to your left behind the shade tree and the neighbor behind the shade tree to the right will also be there to help. And if the next day that neighbor down the way needs help, all of you will be there to lend a hand, or a machete.
God designed us to be people who live in community. This reflects the image of the Triune God. If your Life Group needs some tips about how to live in authentic community, come to Guinea-Bissau and spend a day with my new friends.
The roles between the men and women are pretty clear. Men tend to the land and farm; women take care of the children and the home. The women of the village are beautiful and strong. One thing I admire about them is their nature as a helper. In Scripture, women are referred to as the helper, which is also what the Holy Spirit is called.
The women will bring food (on their heads in huge metal pots) and water (in big buckets) to the men working out in the field. Another thing they will do is stay to clap and cheer the men on as they work hard. The men are encouraged, and it builds morale. This is amazing! It does not go unnoticed that the women are arguably doing a lot of heavy lifting around the village, which means they aren't frail beings. But it does show they humbly serve one another and come alongside the men in the village as part of the whole.
A day in the life of a villager has taught me so much. My view of God was smaller before this experience. My concept of provision vs. accessory has been challenged. My pride has been exposed as the ugliness it is.
Am I a helper or a taker? Do I have the posture of a servant? Do I truly depend on the Lord as my provider?