|Confrontation in Africa - Mar 8|
|Series - 'Diary of a hospital chaplain by Fr Seamus Maguire|
|Friday, 06 March 2009 13:50|
Some scientists claim that an ape (or the smaller baboon) is the prototype of man (Adam). We Christians hold that if such an evolution did take place, God created man with intellect and will very distinctly from any wild animal.
All of the above was very far from my mind as I set out to visit a government school which was due to open that same day. Practically all of the new students had no religion, so I was there to evangelise as many as possible. That is, to invite them to listen to what the Catholic Church taught.
There had been heavy rain for a few days, so the mud road was very slippery. I was thrown from the motorbike a few times, but I thought “this is truly God’s work, so nothing must hinder me from achieving its success”. Words spoken by a true neophyte, as I was soon to learn.
All went well for the first five or six miles, but when I climbed a slight hill, a most delightful scene greeted me. At a distance, it seemed to be a large field with people playing and running about. But as I came closer, the people changed into baboons, and they now all looked in my direction as they heard the noise of the motorcycle.
As they looked, I could see that their carefree joy had turned into fear. The mothers grabbed their babies and put them on their backs and headed with all haste to the hillside where there was plenty of bush to hide them. I continued to smile as I surveyed the happy scene turned wild by the sound of my motorcycle.
Then I noticed four large animals (male no doubt) still standing their ground, and the largest of them all was standing with arms outstretched on the road I had to travel. I didn’t like the look of the situation one bit – I could see that he was furious and had no intention of leaving his spot on the road. He didn’t know it, but I couldn’t possibly turn the heavy bike on the slippery road. He would come roaring at me: so there was an obvious confrontation.
I was getting closer and closer. I could see his small yellow eyes glaring at m me, so I revved the bike into a frenzy. “I would have to ram the bike into him,” I thought as I shouted at him at the top of my voice “Get out of the way”.
We were within five or six feet of each other and I was getting ready for the jolt of hitting him. He remained as solid as a rock, amid the deafing sound of the motorcycle. Just as I was about to hit him with the bike he jumped to one side, still facing me.
I ducked down in case I would be gripped by one of those large claws. “He had blinked” as they say. I glanced back and saw him still standing with outstretched arms; still glaring after me, as I slowly went around a curve in the road.
When people say that life in the priesthood is too dull for them, I only smile and slowly walk away.
“What happened at the school?” you may ask. “Did God reward you for your effort?”
Let me continue….
I continued to the river crossing, but to my amazement it was impossible. It had flooded its banks and there are no bridges in Africa, at least in the bush land. I tried to get across but failed. I dreaded the thought of going back to the scene of the confrontation – or should I call it “The scene of God’s blessing”, a second time, but I had no option.
As I sat on the bike rather dejectedly, I heard what seemed to be the sound of a car engine. How could any car be out here in the bush on such a sloppy day? But there it was – a jeep slowly approached the river and even more slowly navigated its way through the river, and there it stood beside me. “Do you want a ride?” cried the voice within. We tossed the bike on the jeep and set off to safety. The driver said that he worked for the government but I had the feeling he worked for God. When we got to the place of the “confrontation” there was not a baboon to be seen – all was quiet, empty and normal.
I reached the road leading to the Mission and told the driver that I could make it from there on the bike. He helped me get the bike down, waved goodbye, and was gone.
I am aware that a priest in Trinidad will never meet a real live baboon blocking his bike, but he will meet God’s loving protection, as I have, so many times. We need young men to volunteer for the priesthood in Trinidad & Tobago. All who join the ranks will have their courage tested again and again, and there’s no greater “BOSS” to work for.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources