Monday, February 9, 2009

The World so Far Away and Close

About a dozen years ago I read a book by Don Richardson called Lords of the Earth. It featured the Yali and the Dani people of Irian Jaya(now called Papua) and gave an amazing view into tribal lifestyles and recent history. Over the years I've read the book a couple more times, along with some of Richardson's other works (Peace Child, and Eternity in Their Hearts).

Today, after meandering through a discussion in Bible class--a discussion about Jonathan Goforth and the Boxer Rebellion, then David Livingstone and Cameron Townsend and indigenous languages, one of our Indonesian students suddenly asked me if I had ever heard of the Dani tribe? I said yes, and told him about reading Lords of the Earth. He then informed me that he was a Dani. A real Dani. It was an amazing moment, almost like "the white rabbit" stepping out of the pages of Lewis Carroll's book--well not quite; Richardson's book isn't fiction, but it was still a weird feeling.