The Continuing Enculturation of John Mwaipopo

Wendy and I had the pleasure of John’s company for two days this past week as he continues to learn what it is like to live in the United States.  On Tuesday, Pastor Anne-Rose Reeves took John to the Synod office to meet briefly with the Bishop and then brought him to our house where Wendy and I were just getting ready to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Project.  So we convinced Pastor Anne to videotape the event as John poured a bucket of ice water over Wendy.  He was very methodical to say the least and loved it.  I know, crazy Americans.

After we dried off, we off course made lunch where he ate a fried egg sandwich with Colby Jack cheese- guess what Pastor Anne, he liked the cheese. After lunch we took him to our local Community Supported Agriculture store (Oak Grove), where we go to see quite a variety of produce items that even I had no idea what to do with.  From there, we proceeded on to Office Max in order to purchase the necessary school supplies for him to start at Harrisburg University.  I think he was very overwhelmed by the choices that are available.  So we bought him a wireless printer to go along with his laptop along with the entire list of supplies.  He is ready for school to begin

Later that afternoon, we grilled barbeque chicken and had a wonderful dinner of chicken, rice, fresh green beans, and sliced tomatoes and avocado.  Nothing wrong with John’s appetite.  He filled his place twice and finished it and went home with a full stomach.

On Thursday we picked John up and proceed to the local Target where he got his first Starbuck’s coffee.  After our nourishment we went on to Wegman’s where John spearheaded our grocery shopping adventure.  Wendy uses the Wegman’s app on her cell phone with everything needed on our weekly grocery shopping list, so she handed her cell phone to John and allowed him to lead the adventure.  Again, I think he was overwhelmed by the amount of choices our grocery stores have to offer, but he did preserve and got our shopping listed completed without too much difficulty or consternation.  I think he might be ready to shop for himself.

On the way out of the store, I thought we should get a made-to-order sandwich from the counter at the front of the store.  I ordered my mini sub, and John along with help of the store server ordered his own mini sub sandwich.  Guess what, he also likes Provolone cheese—he ordered it on the side, and after he tasted it, he put in on the sandwich.  He is learning.  We went back to my house to eat our lunch and order his text books for the first semester.

After lunch, we had initially planned on going to the IMAX Theater in Harrisburg, but we learned that had already gone with Ken and Myrna Eshleman, so we looked at perhaps going on to Hershey Chocolate World.


From the pictures that John took of the gigantic Hershey kisses, I am sure that he was impressed.  The afternoon was still young so Wendy suggested that we go onto to Indian Echo Cavern in Hummelstown.  I personally was there when I was 8 years old, so I too was very excited.  The tour was great.  Our guide spoke with a non-American accent, so I think John felt very comfortable with the tour.


On the way back home, we hit typical American rush hour traffic on I-83 along with the downpour of rain.  Oh we were also under a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning.

We got home and I again fired up the grill to make beef Kabobs.  Pastor Anne told me that the meat had to be killed twice, so I obliged. The kabobs had beef cubes, whole mushrooms (which John picked out earlier that day at Wegman’s, red onions and green peppers.  Served them with rice.  Once again he loaded up his plate twice.  At the end of the day we went back to Randy and Pastor Anne’s house.

On Tuesday, Wendy and I will have joyful experience of taking John on his first grocery shopping trip for himself as he will already have moved into the International House.  He will do well.

John is truly a remarkable young man and reminds us of what it was like when we first ventured to Germany as young 20 something’s having to learn how to live in a new culture for the next 4 years. Everything from shopping, to using public transportation, to foreign currency and customs—so we have walked in his shoes and truly appreciate the joys and trepidation of living abroad.

John, we are just so honored to be a part of your “American” experience and look forward to a life time of sharing with you.



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