Kina is 6 years old. She lives with her mom and dad and younger brothers in a town called Opuwo [oh-POO-who], in Namibia. [Point to Namibia on a map.] Kina likes to play with her 4-year-old twin brothers while Mother does her housework. “Sometimes I help Mother wash the dishes and sweep the floors,” she adds.
Kina’s daddy is the Adventist pastor in town. Every night the family shares Bible stories before bedtime. “My father asks me to tell him a story, and then he tells me a different one,” Kina says. “That way I learn lots of Bible stories.”
Kina often visits her grandmother, who lives in a traditional village far out of town. Like everyone else in the village, Kina’s grandmother’s house is just one room. It’s built of straight tree branches and plastered with mud. The roof is made of a thick layer of long grass called thatch, and the floor is packed earth. Namibia gets hot, but the mud house stays cooler.
The house is mostly a bedroom and a storage room. Grandmother’s pots and pans are stacked neatly in one corner of the room, clothes hang on pegs pounded into the mud walls, and a fire circle stands in the middle of the floor. It gets cold at night, and the fire helps keep the little house warm. Grandmother sleeps on a large animal skin, and Kina and her brothers sleep on a straw mattress in the same room.
Everyone in the village has chores to do. Early in the morning the children walk to the community well to fill their jugs with clean water for cooking and drinking. They also collect dead branches from trees for firewood. “We tie it in bundles of wood with string and carry them home on our heads,” Kina explains. “This is the way we do things in Africa.”
Grandmother prepares food outside her house on a cooking fire. She builds a fire and puts a pot of water on it to boil. She grinds corn into meal on a large flat stone by rolling a smooth round stone over it. Then she adds the cornmeal to the boiling water and stirs it until it thickens into porridge. When it’s ready, she serves it with fresh milk from her own cows.
Every family has cattle and sheep and goats. At night the animals stay safe from wild jackals and lions inside a corral made of thorn bushes. During the day the older boys take the cattle out to eat the tall grass that grows around the village. Grandmother’s goats like to eat the leaves of the mopane [moh-PAH-nee] trees that grow in the area.
“I have lots of cousins,” Kina says, smiling. “They live in the same settlement as Grandmother, so we never have to look for a playmate when the work is done. The girls play dolls. We make pretend dolls from pieces of rags. They don’t look like a real baby, but we pretend. Sometimes I tie a doll onto my back like the mothers do, and pretend that I’m a mother.”
The villages don’t have electricity, so no one has a television. They don’t need one. As night falls, the family gathers around a fire to tell stories and talk about the day.
“Grandmother doesn’t know stories from the Bible,” Kina says. “So I like to tell her a Bible story. I love my grandmother, and I hope that one day soon she and all my cousins will know that Jesus loves them.”
Boys and girls, we can help Kina’s grandmother, and many others living in northern Namibia learn that Jesus loves them. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will provide small radio-like players with Bible stories on them in the language that Kina’s grandmother speaks. The people can listen to God’s stories while they work or while they rest. Let’s help the people of northern Namibia learn how much God loves them by giving a big offering on September 29.