An unusual new addition was made to the Lion of Judah Academy sciences teaching staff this past summer. “Bonita Bones”, accompanied by her traveling companion, Martha Deegan, finally made her long awaited journey from Connecticut to Bulima, Tanzania, to join the school staff.
Her departure from Connecticut had been delayed over a year due to COVID-19. When conditions finally allowed her to fly she was unceremoniously crammed into a suitcase and forced to endure the indignities of traveling in the cargo hold with the luggage, while her companion, Martha, enjoyed all the comforts of modern international air travel!
After enduring all that she finally arrived at the Dar es Salaam airport, only to find her entrance into the country being challenged by diligent customs agents. She – actually the suitcase she was traveling in – was subjected to multiple passes through the X-ray and scanning equipment. Various agents were called to closely examine her. Finally the lead customs agent was called out from his office. He studied her scanned images closely, scrutinizing every detail. He opened the suitcase, studied her still more closely. Then he somberly turned to Martha and asked, “Is it real?”
At first confused by the question, it dawned on Martha what he was asking…and what all the scrutiny was actually about. Smiling broadly (actually, we weren’t there, but knowing Martha she was certainly smiling VERY broadly!) Martha picked up one of Bonita’s bones – a femur, we think – bent it, and starting laughing. Almost immediately all the customs agents realized…Bonita wasn’t a real human skeleton…she was a life-sized MODEL of a human skeleton! They all burst out laughing!
When things at last settled down they looked at Bonita’s customs paperwork, explaining she is indeed a life-size skeletal model being donated to The Lion of Judah Academy. They repacked her, passed her right through customs, and sent her on to complete her journey to the school! All with a great story to pass down about their unforgettable experience with the crazy lady from the U.S. who had a skeleton packed in her suitcase! And Martha with her story about the customs agents who thought she might actually have packed a real human skeleton in her suitcase!
When she arrived on campus, a time was scheduled to introduce Bonita to the student body at a morning chapel service. But she had one more unexpected appointment to keep…and another important role to play before beginning her tenure on the science department faculty.
She (and Martha) arrived on campus just as the dental training mission was getting ready to start. The dental trainers, at a team meeting, mentioned they had been short of room when they packed. One of the training aids they unfortunately had to leave in the U.S. was their skull model. They were disappointed because they had hoped to use it with the trainees, to help them better understand the anatomy of the jaw and mouth.
When she heard that, Bonita immediately raised her hand (actually, Martha raised Bonita’s hand) and volunteered HER head as a substitute! The offer was immediately and gratefully accepted. So, for 2 or 3 days, Bonita literally “lost her head” for the cause of dental training! (Go here to learn more about the dental training mission)
Eventually, though, Bonita and her skull were re-united. At the appointed time she was presented to the student body – to the “oohs and ahhhs” (not to mention the laughter) – of the students and the gratitude of the science staff.
So now, there she is…much to the delight of both faculty and students…the newest addition to the staff of The Lion of Judah Academy!
Thank you, so much, Martha, for the gift of Bonita Bones. And thanks for all the stories which will be told so long as Bonita Bones is remembered!