We started the day early as it was awards day at the orphanage. We also wanted to finish taking photos of the students from JSS and the government school (about 27 in all).
It was an overcast day so we set up our photo studio outside. It went quickly as Jim helped with names, I took photos and Dorothy did interviews. We had finished taking photos when the head teacher Magdiel asked Dorothy and me if we planned to change our clothes. We hadn't and then learned we didn't look "Nigerian" enough so he grabbed three sets of clothes from his apartment for us to wear. We were a matching three-some as the fabric was all alike — made from cotton grown in Kano State and also made into fabric there. As it turns out they were gifts to us that they'd just forgotten to give to us before the event. They were made of cotton, but they'd been waxed so they were very stiff.
With our clothes changed we joined others gathered in the auditorium for the event. There were dignitaries and media representatives plus the many individuals and groups invited as honorees.
We were sat next to Bishop Yohanna and were invited to be part of the ceremony in both receiving recognition and helping to give out other's awards. By the time we got to the government secretary representing tourism and the media it was toward the end of the program. I guess you could say they saved the best until last as the man announced that based on the proposal put forth, Taraba State pledged 5 million naira towards the the rebuilding of the boys dormitory. The amount is probably more than a third of the total amount needed. What a great start to the rebuilding campaign. Following the program their was music and a large lunch.
Right after lunch we piled into the Bishop's Toyota pick-up and took off for a Nigerian Central Conference women's revival in Bambuka (almost straight north of Jalingo but you can't drive straight north to get there).
We had a very memorable cross-country tour and wouldn't you know my camera batteries (two of them) and my phone were all dead from the work of the morning event, so we have few photos of the trip there.
We arrived just in time to honor the chief of the tribe most native to the Bambuka area. It was all spoken in Housa and Dorothy delivered a message of greeting on behalf of the Great Plains UMC and the orphanage. Dorothy does a great job every time she's called upon unexpectedly to give remarks or greetings as the partnership chair.
Following the tribal recognition we went to Benji's actual home (Bambuka is where is family house is and where his wife stays throughout the week as she is a teacher). Benji's wife prepared us a tasty meal of rice, chicken, black-eyed peas and pasta. At 7 p.m. we were off to attend the final Saturday evening session of the UMW meeting.
There were more women in attendance than what would fit in either Century Link or the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. There were 20,000+ women in attendance. And it's not like it's easy to get to or to stay. Most stayed out in the open with a tent or make-shift covering. The event was on the grounds of a school so some were able to use school facilities but that cared for a very few (500-1000). The rest improvised by creating their own accommodations, bringing their own food and water and more. While there are food vendors and such, imagine staying four days at such an event. Along with the women, there were some children and a few men. Many of the men were district superintendents or pastors from represented churches and districts.
The Rev. Dr. Kimberly Riesman from Indiana delivered the keynote address. She preached on the life of Mary and how God within her made her a strong, independent woman, noting how Mary was not afraid of visiting her cousin Martha alone and staying for a time. She also noted Mary stood alone as Jesus died on the cross,
Her message was well received by attendees. Bishop Yohanna honored her with words of appreciate and gave her a "latchee" which is a rope device used to hang perishables, or other items to be protected in a high place in order that children or animals be kept away.
The evening wrapped up with a dramatic portrayal of Baal worship and how God used Elisha to help cast out Baal.