Joe Mavungu's Visit


One of the interesting visits I can remember is when Joe Mavungu from Zaire stayed with us for a couple of days. We knew he was visiting in Olympia and expected him the next day. Much to our surprise, his host drove him to Seattle a day early and they arrived just as we were eating clam chowder. Joe had never eaten a clam, and tried to force down a little, but we could tell he wasn't enjoying it. He wanted to know how we caught the clams so the next day we took him on the ferry to Vashon Island and to Camp Burton, our American Baptist Camp. Because his feet were small he could wear my boots, and we loaned him a stocking cap and a warm jacket. We walked to the beach and showed him how to dig clams. Was he excited! But we didn't make him eat them. Before the ferry left Seattle we had time to visit the Pike Place Market where he felt right at home. He bargained with one woman who was selling necklaces for $1.00 and got three for a dollar. I remember as I was driving him to a meeting one afternoon, he told me that the thing that impressed him about our country was how young women looked and acted, because in his country they age early. He couldn't get over the fact that here I was older than he and driving a car. We knew Joe was going to attend the Billy Graham meetings in the Kingdome, but didn't know he had any part in the program. I attended just one night, and, luckily, I picked the night he gave the closing prayer. I can still see him coming into the Dome at the end of the line of dignitaries, all rather tall men, and here came Joe Mavungu at least a head shorter.