Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wisdom of Keeping Cool

The air conditioner in the office needs 3 minutes, every time the power drops out, so the compressor doesn’t burn up. This means it is rarely on since the power fluctuates regularly. The cement block office with its tin roof acts like an oven as a relentless tropical sun is beating on it for 12 hours a day. Looks can be deceiving because the tukel (mud brick house) sporting a thatched roof is much better at holding the cool of the evening and repelling the heat of the day.

This is indicative of so much that I encounter in Africa. What looks like poverty or foolishness really has deeper meaning and a rational all its own. I tend to see poverty at the material level. But there are immense riches in a faith that gives sustenance to people living in the contexts of brutal violence. What looks like haphazard planning and implementation of a project might really be wisdom about what will work here and what won’t.

So when the temperature in the office climbs to 100 perhaps I would do well to look for unconventional sources of cool.

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