Sunday, June 01, 2008

Close Encounters of the Cultural Kind

Christina, Marella, Ivanir - having safely
arrived at the Mission Centre, thanks to my bravery
This past week two new girls arrived from the USA. One of them is doing an internship for her degree in sports and recreation. She is working together with our sports ministry team helping to set up football(soccer) clubs around the country, and organizing tournaments and camps, all for the purpose of sharing the gospel through sports.
The other girl is doing an internship related to her degree in Teaching English and Inter-cultural studies. So she is teaching english, of course, and seeking to have as many cross-cultural experiences as possible. Not to worry, Christina, there will be LOTS of cross-cultural experiences. We started on Monday morning. It was the first day and I was taking the girls to our new building for their orientation time.
I parked the car in the field above the building as I wasn't sure whether the road was passable or not. (Mud, you know.) From the field there is a path that goes over the embankment and down to the road by our building. As we parked, I looked up and saw that, right beside our footpath that we had to go on was a large black and white cow. This cow from time to time is randomly tied up in the field, but usually not right beside our path. Now, I have said 'cow' but looking at this immense beast on our path, and looking at the horns on its head, it occurred to me that I really wasn't sure whether it was a cow or a bull. The grass was very long and deep so from our vantage point I couldn't tell by the underneath part. Choosing to err on the side of caution, I suggested that we needed to get the bovine to move away from the path. It was tied to quite a long rope, staked in the ground, so I courageously volunteered to try to haul the animal away from the path. "When it starts to move away," I instructed, "you guys run!!!!" Meanwhile I was thinking, if it moves toward me, I'll be running too - and hopefully faster than it so as not to get gored.
The girls were .... ok, we all were,... pretty giddy and amused but nervous at our predicament. Apparently this doesn't happen on the way to the office in America. Nor do I remember it every happening on my way to work in Toronto.
I bravely, with no thought for my own safety, started pulling on the rope and Ivanir decided that we really needed to get some pictures of this. So while I am risking my life for their safety, Ivanir is buckling up in laughter and taking pictures from all angles.
Finally, I get the beast off the path - and out of the deep grass. The girls have disappeared over the hill and I am alone with the creature who... as it emerges from the grass.... proves to be... just a cow. Yup, there's the udder. I say thanks to Bessie the cow and walk by with relief, knowing that that's no bull.


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  2. re Cross-cultural Monrovia--
    Cute story about the cross species encounter, and please know it would be interesting to read about cross-cultural issues. What are difficulties faced by North Americans in Monrovia? What is it that Monrovians don't understand about visitors from the US?.
    Thank you
    Jonathan Kroner, JD, MBA

  3. Cherise Beekman5:28 p.m.

    Oh, Barb! Thanks so much for sharing this! I laughed so hard. You really have a way with words. :)

  4. Crinkle9:00 p.m.

    Hi Barble,
    I missed your blog for the last 4 weeks! You cow-fighter! Silas is impressed he told me.
    Greetings from Crinkle