June 21-24 our family traveled to the interior city of Nsork in southeastern Equatorial Guinea. We were hosted by Pastor Deogracia and his family. Pastor Deogracia is a graduate of our seminary. Nsork is located on the near opposite side of the country, so it took us a good four hours to get there by public transport. In nearly 250 miles of driving we went through 14 military checkpoints, where we had to show our passports and explain our reason for travel.
The purpose of our visit was twofold; 1) to get to know the Fang language and culture better, and, 2) to get a taste of life in the interior of the country.
Pastor Deogracia’s house, where we stayed, is a typical home in the small communities that pock the jungle interior of the country. Seven kids and two adults share a simple home. The kitchen is a small detached building with scrap wood walls and a wood burning stove. There is no running water anywhere in the community. Like every home in the 1,000 person community, the pastor’s family makes a trek down to the river daily to bath and to clean the plates and cookware.
We made several pastoral visits with pastor Deogracia to get to know some of the Fang families in the community. One of our highlights was visiting Maria in her simple home. Maria is a 70-year-old Christian widow who lives on the same property where she was born. Her one-room home has wooden walls, a tin roof, a dirt floor, a cooking fire in the center, no electricity and beds made of tree branches. Maria speaks no Spanish and had to have our conversation translated into her native Fang. She has 10 children and “25 or 30 grandkids.” She was amazed that we only had one child and wanted to know if we “hated kids.” We all had lots of laughs and shared some food Maria prepared.
We visited the pastor’s church for two weekday services. Mike preached on “God is in control” during one of the services. Mike preached in Spanish (which half of the church understands) and pastor Deogracia translated into Fang (which everyone in the church understands).
The pastor and his family can’t be supported solely from the tithes of the poor church, so his wife prepares food and sells it from a stand in front of the their home. Pastor Deogracia is also a mason. Mike helped the pastor with a construction project he was working on with a few other local men.
Erin and Maddy got to meet and play with a large number of kids from the community and visited several homes and stores.
This was an amazing experience to get to know the rural, jungle, Fang culture that is so prevalent here. This was an experience few outsiders would ever get the chance to see.