Many of you jokingly expressed a connection with my present geographical location and a certain favored movie called, “The Lion King.” To answer a few of your lingering questions…

No, they don’t sing the “Circle of Life” song here. Then again, I have not witnessed the birth of a baby lion soon to rule over the Prideland. Plus, I don’t think the song is in the language of Kiswahili. But still, it’s a great song…

Yes, “Hakuna Matata” is Kiswahili. However, to doesn’t simply mean “No worries, for the rest of your days.” It literally translates to “There are no tangles/complications.” Although it isn’t used much here except in touristy areas when they’re trying to get your attention (and/or money for souvenirs!)

No, I have not visited the Prideland yet. My teaching responsibilities are keeping me quite close to home base right now. But I do hope to get out and adventure sometime soon. I’ve hiked some places near the city of Morogoro (see pictures from the Hike Blog) and learned my way around town. A few cities on my list to check out: Arusha (and Mt. Kilimanjaro), Mwanza (and Lake Victoria, the water source for the Nile), Bagamoyo (and the BEACH) and Mbeya (cold temperatures!) Also, there are a plethora of incredible National Parks to visit like: Serengeti, Mikumi and NgoroNgoro Crater! Needlesstosay, when I get the chance to explore I’ll be ready!

And yes, some of the names from “The Lion King” are Kiswahili. “Simba” means “lion” (how convenient!)… “Rafiki” (the baboon) means “friend” which makes sense since he was a good friend to Simba. Sadly, I’ve checked several times and Mufasa and Nala are not Kiswahili. Nor does Timone but Pumbaa is! And the name of good ole Pumbaa is just who I want to talk more about now…

Pumbaa is one of my favorite characters from the movie. He’s laid back. He keeps things simple. He enjoys each moment of life and doesn’t waste time today worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year. Some say talk like this is foolish (yes, sometimes we must think about the future to responsibly plan for then) but I think it’s good to have a Pumbaa-perspective every now and then.

In Kiswahili, “pumbaa” actually has 2 meanings:

1)      to be foolish, silly or weak-minded

2)      to be speechless with astonishment, to be dumbfounded.

So my question for you (and for me) is what kind of “pumbaa” are you? Do you treat your faith in God as something silly, foolish or something not worth your full attention, time and potential? Or do your experiences with God and the daily sacred encounters of the Divine leave you completely dumbfounded and speechless with astonishment? It seems to me that these are two quite different reactions and interactions with God.

I learned a lot from that smelly warthog. I’ve learned the beauty and value and POTENTIAL in each day. And I’ve learned that if we believe God is able to astonish us and worth the awe…then we need to make the time to give God that window of opportunity in our days. Moses encountered such an opportunity one day…

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

-Exodus 3:1-6

Moses could have just thought the burning bush was foolish and continued with his job. After all, he had responsibilities to keep. But the pumbaa-perspective in him caused him to check this bush out more carefully which led to the holy happening on some sacred sand leaving him literally floored with awe and wonder.

Each day is full of surprises. I believe we all have burning bushes around us. Will you count them off as happenstance or luck or will you embrace the beauty that is Today and the incredible ways in which God is and will work around you. The book of Amos reminds us to “seek [God] and Live.” (Amos 5:6) It’s that simple. No complications or questions to ponder if this is foolishness or not. Simply seek God and live.

“Hakuna matata” indeed…

Some people that never cease to astonish and amaze me are my pupils (aka students to those from the States)… here’s a picture of some of my students!


(Oh and in case you were wondering… “Scar” is English for “scar…” I know, I know…that was a tough one!)