What does it mean for a thing to be necessary? What about important?
We call a lot of things necessary and important. I’ve been thinking through this the past couple of days. Christie and I are currently in Kigali, Rwanda, where we’ve come for Baylor to have her 6-month doctor’s visit (her first check-up since we left Dar es Salaam in her third week of life). She needed vaccinations we can’t get in Geita, or even Mwanza — so Rwanda is our next closest choice. Kigali, the capital city, is a 6-hour drive from Geita, including time spent at the border. Entering Rwanda is free for American citizens, and some missionary friends here in Kigali allow us to stay with them while in town. So Rwanda is a somewhat nearby and affordable option for doctor’s visits and restocking our pantries.
Most of what we buy here isn’t available at all in Geita or Mwanza, but we do pick up a few items because they’re cheaper in Kigali than back home. But cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. So we have to do some prioritizing. We find ourselves asking, “What’s necessary? What’s important? What’s just for pleasure and comfort, and how much should we spend on those items?” Here are a few of the things we’ve bought in Rwanda on this trip:
- doctor’s visit for Baylor with two vaccinations
- an 8-month vaccination to take back and store in refrigerator
- 15 kilograms of coffee beans (enough to last about 6 months)
- 2 kilograms of cheese
- 4 jars of peanut butter
- 1 1/2 kilograms of ham
- various and assorted herbs and spices
- 25 kilograms of corn meal (I’ve missed fried okra and cornbread)
- 3 storage chests made from banana leaves
- a few steak knives, plastic cups, scouring pads, and dish cloths
- 5 meals at pizza restaurants and other western food establishments
- 2 visits to a coffee shop that feels like an actual coffee shop
- 1 tank of diesel at $6.50 per gallon! (NOT cheaper than Tanzania)
What’s important to you? What do you need to get by? How much would you pay for diesel?
And I hate to be the lame Christian blogger who does this, but I can’t help it… Is your cup of coffee in the morning more important than speaking with God? Have you noticed you always have time to fill your car’s empty gas tank — even on days you couldn’t spend a short time in the word? Why are we so concerned about getting our kids to doctors for check-ups and vaccinations — yet we skimp on their spiritual health?
And what am I going to do with 55 pounds of corn meal?!