“Learning the Ropes”
Some squirrel students have come from America to tell people about Jesus, and Omulonga shows them around.
Themes Found in This Story:
- Make a Matatu
- Matatu Race
“Good morning, Madala,” said Omulonga.
“Ah, good morning, young lady!” Madala replied. “You’re just in time. I’m ever so grateful you’ve agreed to help the new folk out.”
“Oh, I don’t mind at all. I’m excited to think that a missions group has come all the way out here to help us tell people about Jesus,” she said.
“Ah, here they are,” Madala said as four squirrels came around the cor- ner. “This is Kyle, Casey, Bridget and Andee.”
“Nice to meet you,” Omulonga said, extending a wing to shake each of their paws. “My name is Omulonga.”
“I’ll leave you lot to it, then,” said Madala. “Have them back before dark, eh?” With that he re- turned to his hut, leaving Omulonga with her young charges.
“So what are we going to do?” asked Casey, a southern American twang in his voice.
“Well, since you’re all students, I thought we’d go into town and go to the university today,” Omulonga said. “I’ll introduce you to my friends and we can meet some other students.”
“Yay!” Bridget squealed, jumping up and down and clapping her tiny paws. “Oh, I love meeting new people. It sounds so exciting!”
Omulonga smiled. “First though, we’ll have to get into town. I don’t suppose you’ve
ridden a matatu before?” The squirrels all shook their heads. “Well, it can be a bit
tricky, but don’t worry. I’ll teach you,” Omulonga assured them. She led them to the bus stop. A matatu came over the hill in a cloud of dust, and Omulonga stuck out a wing, drawing a small circle in the air. The matatu pulled to a stop. “That signal means you’re going to town,” she explained to the puzzled squirrels. “If he wasn’t going to town, the driver wouldn’t have stopped. There’s loads of other signals, but I’ll teach them to you as we go.” The five of them climbed into the van.
“It sure is crowded in here,” said Kyle. He was squashed up against the window, along with Casey, Omulonga, two kestrels and a zebra with lots of grocery bags. The girls were in the seat in front of them, so crowded by a family of impalas that Bridget had to sit on Andee’s lap.
“It is a bit,” Omulonga agreed. “But it keeps you from flying out of your seat when you hit a pothole.” It was a short ride into town, and as they came to a stop, Omulonga handed some bills up to Andee. “Give these to the driver, will you?,” Omulonga said. “We have to pay be- fore we can get out.”
The squirrels and Omulonga were the only ones getting out. After a bit of tricky maneuvering, they were able to climb out and onto the pavement. Bridget was grinning. “That was like riding a roller coaster!” she squeaked.
They walked a few blocks up to the university. “So, I know we’re supposed to be telling people about Jesus,” said Andee. “But where do we start?” she asked.
“Well,” Omulonga said. “The important thing is to build relationships first. Get to know some people, and that’s easy enough. They’ll want to ask you all sorts of questions about America, so just tell them what you do and why you’re here. The more you get to know them, the more they’ll want to learn, and the easier it will be to share.”
She looked around and spotted a flamingo sitting on a bench with a sketchpad. “Let’s start with something easy. This is my friend Njoroge, from my art class.”
She introduced her friend to the squirrels and let them carry the conversation. By the end of the afternoon, they’d been joined by a crocodile, a kudu, two rhinos from the rugby team, a bush baby, a baboon and even an exchange student from India – a tiger named Mohinder who wanted Casey to come back the next day and explain some things about the Bible to him. Omulonga looked at it all and smiled. The squirrels were only going to be around for a couple of months, but she got the feeling they were going to do some good work.