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Snakes, Sandals and Sweat

Posted on 13 Dec 2006 by .

Crawford Telfer reports on our latest Missionary production.

They say the best thing to come out of Ivory Coast is the midnight flight to London. No - it's a joke. But Ivory Coast - we call it Cote d'Ivoire now, in West Africa, is a very fine country. Indeed it is. The French - when they left in the early 60's made sure they had a good transport infrastructure, stable government, and strong links with their former colonial masters. So today you can take an hour's internal flight for as little as £8 - in a jet!

Peter Anderson and I did just that last March when we went there to make another video for UFM Worldwide. We still think it was a computer error - you just can't fly for that little. Our brief was to produce a video about the work of UFM among the villages in the middle of the country. I'm glad we took our sandals. The heat was oppressive to say the least - even right through the night. There was no air conditioning - and no respite. Sleeping in sweat is not a pleasant experience.

The missionaries who serve there deserve a medal. We had a great time with three UFM families who had lots of stories to tell us about life in this sauna bath of Africa. There was the Green Mamba in the bedroom that ( and mambas are the world’s most aggressive snake ) was dispatched to another planet by the courageous whack of Pete Nye’s stick. It was a very long stick.

Not so joyous was the armed robbery of the same family by a bunch of drug crazed criminals. The nightmares have at long last ended and the Nye family are still living in their remote mission home. Who said Christianity was a soft option?

The Browns from Northern Ireland (not a very Irish name that) are working in another part of the country. With two very young children to look after, Roslyn has her hands full while William is usually off in the forest villages evangelising. How they cope with the climate, and the language I don't know. Their oldest child is just 5 and now several hundred miles away in boarding school. Separation is all part of mission life, many say it's the hardest part.

Soon to retire are the Morris's who have lived in Africa many more years than in the UK. Their problem will be adjusting to life back here. But they have discovered the joys of the internet and email though - so are well on the way. We were surprised and even relieved that even these stalwarts of mission found the heat and humidity overpowering.

Even our equipment suffered as one of the two cameras I took broke down. ~I can't go on" it whined - ~I'm Japanese and not used to this climate." Ah, if only cameras could really talk.

The video is now finished and is called “Village People" (library code WM50). If you want to see it, just call Pam on 01275 851555.