In 2008 Jessie and I were in Richmond, Virginia having lunch with my Virginia bishop, The Rt. Rev. David Jones.  I had recently returned from my sabbatical in South Africa and had lost my heart to Africa.  Jessie’s heart was already there as she had traveled to Africa many times on the tourist track.  On this occasion, she said to the bishop:  “I now want to go back and make a difference.”  It was David who sent us to Buck Blanchard, the global mission’s chair in the Diocese of Virginia.  That is how this all got started.  Let me assure you, Jessie is making a difference, a huge difference.  Her wish has been granted.  As we have both written, she is there now and often without Wi-Fi.  I receive snippets from her on WhatsApp, something we downloaded onto our phones just before she left, so it is pretty new to us both.  We are communicating but I’m still having trouble posting her pictures.  With a new hip my doctor would not let me make this trip ~ we were both heartbroken but the more I hear  from her, the more I know I could not have done all that she has done.    If you look closely at the photo you will see her long white hair blowing in the breeze on the motorcycle; it was the only way they could get to a particular village.  She has had as much as 14+ hours in a Land Rover, some on dirt roads, what she calls African massages!  What she is doing through Karimu is going to the most remote places and installing solar lights and visiting villages that have already gotten the kits.  She is hearing testimony after testimony on how lives are being radically changed by having light now.  Their animals are safer because the Hyena’s will not come out if there is any light.  These lights are saving the tribesman their goats and cattle.  In Africa a man’s wealth is measured by their animals.  She is most enthusiastic about the village women who have given up FGM.  They have been rewarded with a Fire Fly kit.  Even the village elders all men of course, are admitting that it is a brutal custom.  She visited a clinic where a solar kit had been installed.  Tragically, a young woman had given birth to a severely deformed baby.  The doctor simply told the woman that her baby would die and then he left.  We know that this young woman had no prenatal care and nothing for the pain she was in.  The baby died that night.  I wonder what is next for this young woman who weighed only 90 pounds Jessie guessed.  Another pregnancy probably.  Ruth Mbennah who is traveling with Jessie is doing a lot to educate the women.  My hat is off to Jessie and Ruth.  Currently, they are in the north of Tanzania near Lake Victoria and the Kenyan border.  She says it is quite lovely and green, something we don’t see in Dodoma.  Tomorrow they head to Mwanza, a port city on Lake Victoria ~ I had to Google it; it is lovely.  They are seeing the best and the worst of Africa.  Knowing Jessie as I do, it is the positiveness and the joy of the people that will remain with her.   Even with so little they dance and sing and rejoice.  Jessie and crew are weary but soon they will return to Dodoma and visit the women involved in the goat and pig projects.  She will see old friends and all the fatigue will melt away like snow in the summer. There will be joy in her morning

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