There is a great relief in knowing the answer to the why question. All of the other answers can wait as long as why is known. We know why we have spent months preparing for this journey to Senegal. Surely that is enough for now?
It will though prove before travel’s end that the why is much more personal than the knowing of that why what brought about our initial knowing. God is at work on multiple fronts, the least of which is not that what He is doing within our hearts.
The road out of Dakar digressively becomes worse until finally Matt is using trails off of the road rather than the pavement. Pits and craters become the dominant feature of this national highway. They are known by the Senegalese as chicken nests; we simply call them potholes.
There are many more chicken nests than there is drivable roadway. Up ahead, two youth busy themselves with the task of road repair. Small make-shift shovels in hand; they have found enough dirt to fill one of the millions of potholes plaguing the roadway. They are proud of their effort and signal their pride in accomplishment by waving to passing vehicles with an obvious desire for response. We enquire and Matt shares that they are calling out for us to pay them for their labor.
It seems to me ridiculous; nearly slapstick. Can they not see and understand that their filling of one pothole on this road is meaningless, and laughable is the thought of compensation?
Because the ride toward Diouloulou has merely begun, and we’ve yet to encounter the havoc of the Gambia, time permits my mind to replay this scene again and again; futility defined well is the image of the pothole fillers encounter.
I wonder does this scene resemble how God sees His image-bearers ever striving to please Him with insufficient labors supposed to correct the scales bearing our sin. It weighs on my conscience heavily as we travel deeper into a land whose people are bent on shoveling grains of sand into a bottomless pit of despair known as religion.
I settle back into my seat; we have a many hours yet of chicken nests to endure, and up ahead, “The Twilight Zone.”