Njike (interesting name, huh?), is 103 years old. That is incredible for anywhere, but especially for Tanzania. We met in his village in March of 2009. He is married (to one woman) for over - he thinks - 80 years! She is suffering from some sort of dementia now and so he takes care of her every day, all day. We sat on a log outside their little one room hut and had a fantastic conversation. Get this, he had heard of Coca Cola, but had never been able to afford one. But he had never heard of Jesus Christ, so we solved that one. He said he really wanted what Christ was offering if it was available to a man of his age. And afterward, he wanted to share the good news with his wife. So through a series of hand gestures and Sukuma (their native tongue) shouted louder than I have ever heard it, she seemed to understand what he was telling her.... and she too accepted Christ that day! He told me he hardly ever left his small place because he was worried she would wander off and never be seen again, so I was quite surprised to see him at a meeting we had invited all the new believers to attend that day. He walks very bent over and it takes him a long, long time to get anywhere. I had told him he did not need to come, that some of our Tanzanian brothers would be seeing him soon, but he said he wanted to come and encourage the younger villagers to really listen to the message of Jesus, that he had found it to be completely true in his heart! Wow. Interesting side note: He did not know his actual year of his birth, so the village chairman sat with us in the late afternoon and pulled out a very old notebook and started asking Njike questions about different events he had on a timeline in this ancient notebook. They kept going back in the timeline until Njike said, “I was six years old when that happened”, so they were able to peg his age in an unusual manner. Another interesting side note: I asked Njike what was the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his entire life. He rubbed his head for a while then he said that when he was just a young boy (ten), the village chief died and had no heir, so at that time the way a new chief was chosen was the man with the most cows became the new chief. Well, there were two men with large herds of cows so a cattle war ensued for the next three days. Not a cattle war like we’ve heard about in the old west here, but one in which they were just wholesale killing each others cows. He said it seemed horrific to him to look all around him and all he could see was what looked like hundreds of dead cows! He added, as he shook his head, “What a waste”. Yet another side note (maybe not so interesting): The next day after I met Njike, I ask one of our Tanzanian brothers, who lived in the village, if he knew where we could get a Coke. He said yes and so I gave him some money and asked him to go buy four for Njike and drop them by his house. He took off on his bicycle and a couple of hours later he came back and reported what happened. He said Njike was afraid of the glass, that he might drop the bottle and lose the cherished drink, so he poured all four into a metal bucket and he and his wife had their first soft drink out of a bucket! He also knew of a neighbor who had never experienced a soft drink, so he took the bucket to he and his wife and let them give it a try. All agreed they really liked it!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Added note: Njike now is with the Lord, as of 2012!