Growing up in the Midwest, crime wasn't a part of our daily routine. Typically it didn't affect our activities, thought process, or decisions. I remember as a child when we would leave home for a week or more without even locking our doors. My first real experience with illegal behavior came when a crime wave struck western Ankeny, specifically in the apartments on College Ave. I had left my book bag, complete with Greek textbooks, notes on intercultural communication, and for some unknown reason, a calculator -I say unknown because I attended Faith Baptist Bible College, a place not exactly known for producing mathematicians. Unfortunately this bag also contained my checkbook, forcing me to go to the credit union and close my account. That's the real extent of crime that had affected me prior to our arrival in South Africa.
South Africa is ranked highly in international crime statistics. There was some level of culture shock for us as we became accustomed to bars over all windows, gates on all doors, 5 different locks just to enter our apartment, and ensuring cars are always secured and anything within them covered. In fact, when I preached once I shared an illustration about fences. The people there were shocked to learn that in the US fences were generally to keep children and dogs in, not to keep other people out. The first night we spent in Welkom was an adventure of its own. Amber wakes me up in the middle of the night saying breathlessly "I heard gunshots". Of course, she wouldn't allow me to return to my dreams without me first investigating said gunshots. After a bit of sleuthing, we located the source of these "gunshots" that oddly enough were spaced exactly 5 seconds apart. One of the girls at the home was struggling with TB and had to use an oxygen machine to breath. She was staying with some short-term missionaries and so was living just down the hall from us. The hose on the machine was kinked, causing the machine to go "thump...thump" every 5 seconds or so. We were thankful that real tragedy was averted and that we didn't get to experience crime firsthand for several months, until the copper thief incident in October that year.
After spending 18 months in South Africa, our mindset had changed to the point that locking doors and other advisable precautions were becoming second nature. On our return to the States last fall it was a bit surprising to see so many windows without large iron bars. Although much of our time has been spent in small-town Iowa, we still lock our car doors whenever we leave, a habit for which we have taken no small amount of grief from the local Midwesterners. All this to build up to the latest revelation I've had about my sweet, dear wife. Isn't it strange that you can know someone so well, for so long, and yet still be able to learn things about them?
We will be shipping a container of important supplies to South Africa. Over the last couple weeks we have been preparing, a large part of that being driving around to pick up donated items. Since our minivan frequently can't handle the amount of things we pick up, Slater Baptist Church has graciously allowed us to use the church van for collections. So the other day we woke up early, bought day-old Casey's doughnuts for breakfast, and drove over to the church to get the van for a day of collecting donations. Before our return we had a list of things we were excited to experience again. One of those high on the list was Casey's doughnuts, although now that we've been here a few months we have resorted to day-old. So between Huxley and Slater we partake of these delectible treats, and on arrival at the church we begin transporting all necessary gear from our minivan to the church van. Amber then, following the habits we developed in South Africa, begins covering all valuable items left in the van. After observing her activity for a moment, I realize that she neglected to cover the iPod and other such items, choosing instead to use my coat to cover the half empty box of day-old Casey's doughnuts. And that's when I learned just how important those things are.
If anyone knows someone in the marketing department at Casey's, let them know that Amber would be happy to do a testimonial about their doughnuts.