Wednesday, April 12, 2006


When I first arrived in Lui, I saw all those children and adults with flies settled on them. It reminded me of all those heart-rending “Christian Children’s Fund” TV infomercials I see late at night. Lord help me, I dismissed them. I said to myself, “Why don’t those people shoo the flies off themselves?”

But a few days after being in Lui, I suddenly recognized a weird thing had happened to me. I felt flies settling on me, and I did not swat them off. Yes, if they landed on my nose or mouth, I would swat them. But most settled on my head or face or arms or legs, and I did not trouble them.

I was appalled when I realized this. “WHAT? is going on???” I asked myself. And then I realized. When temperatures are exorbitantly high and you need to reserve all your energies for the really important things, swatting flies just doesn’t rise to the level of a Really Important Thing. It’s really o.k. if flies want to harvest some of the sweat off your arms or legs or belly. It’s not a value judgment.

I will never look at those late-night infomercials the same way again.

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