Good Friday morning ...
I am using a most unusual bookmark to mark my casual reading these days.
For years I had been using a tattered, beaten-up, dingy boarding pass from a long-ago overseas flight. Obviously, at some time, I had been reading a book inflight and needed a bookmark and made use of the most available item ... my boarding pass. I still have that old, frayed-around-the-edges bookmark and may use it again at some time in the future. But right now, I'm using a new marker.
It's a small, business card-type marker. In fact, it IS a business card, albeit an unusual one. It is printed on some kind of paper-like plastic, incorporating two colors (red and blue) along with black lettering. The card was given to me by a man named Nadeem Kahn whom I have met on several occasions on my journeys to East Africa.
The card advertises two distinctly differnt businesses, both owned and operated by Mr. Kahn, hence the card is divided into two parts. On the left side of the card, in red ink, is the name KAHN'S BARBEQUE, Chicken on the Bonnet. On the right side, in blue ink, is the name ZUBEDA AUTO SPARES, Injector Pump, Spares and Service. These are followed by the address, phone numbers and other contact information for the two businesses. On the back is a simple map of how to get to the Mosque Street location just off Sekoine Road and near the Main Market in Arusha.
Here's the unusual thing about this bookmark and the businesses it advertises. By day the business is a walk-up auto parts store specializing in injector pumps and parts for diesel engines. By night the business is a bustling sidewalk barbeque specializing in Pakistani-style BBQ chicken parts.
Arusha is a typical African city ... dirty, dusty, smelly from auto exhaust and packed with people. In essence it is a pit stop where travelers from all over the world break their journey on the overland route between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam ... or else camp for the night before forging on toward Serengeti National Park or Mount Kilimanjaro.
The streets of Arusha are chockablock with buses, safari vans and giant SUVs owned by flush tour operators. And those vehicles are filled with hungry tourists.
Wheeler-dealer Nadeem Kahn has taken advantage of the situation by providing auto parts to vehicles trundling through town by day ... and by night selling perhaps the best Pakistani-style chicken BBQ parts anywhere.
This past July I was greeted by the smiling, ever-enthusiastic, friendly Kahn as I brought TEAM TANZANIA 2018 to the Mosque Street eatery for some tasty chicken. It was just past 7pm and the sidewalk grills were fired with hot coals and chicken parts spread across the grates, exuding delightful culinary smells into the night air. Kahn beckoned us to be seated at the long bench tables positioned on the sidewalk across the narrow street from the grills. He dashed off with our order of 20 naan, 17 Chicken Tikka and two beef kebobs. Unfortunately, we were unable to partake of the delicious salads he offers since our standard mantra while in Tanzania (for health reasons) is "Cook it, boil it, peel it, or forget it!" Salads are off limits for us westerners.
But the chicken is to die for! It is tender, juicy, spicy and smoky and when they say spicy ... they mean spicy (I learned this the teary, sweaty, snotty way years ago). And with no utensils, you can imagine that it was finger-lickin' good!
So, my current book mark is a frequent reminder of Kahn's and a delightful evening introducing this unique man and his rare combination of businesses to TEAM TANZANIA 2018. Oh, the memories generated from a simple bookmark!
The diversity we find in the world is a marvelous testament to the creativity of God. As one travels, he sees not only the beauty of God's creation, but also the beauty of cultural differences among His people wherever he goes. And here's the thing: they ALL need Christ!
"In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all." [Colossians 3:11]
Have a great weekend in the Lord ... perhaps experiencing some cultural diversity in and around where you live and sharing your faith as God leads.