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Can you believe I skipped church this morning – just didn’t think I could make the 7 a.m. service. I had a leisurely start, finished a fascinating book entitled: “Take this Bread,” a spiritual memoir of a 21st century Christian who had been an athiest. I used the word “athiest” in my class the other day and my students had never heard it and didn’t know what it meant. They cannot imagine anyone not believing in God and yet there are plenty of reasons for me to wonder when I see what I see.

I am glad that I didn’t go to church because the electricity went off and I was yearning for a bath and shampoo – managed to get it just before the electricity went off, otherwise it would have been a cold bucket bath. Sometimes girls have to do girl things, so I worked on my nails (never to be the same), didn’t get any tea or breakfast because I had no electricity. At noon I met with the New Yorker’s again with the Carpenter’s Kids for a dinner in the college library. I met so many interesing people, some from Australia who send money for medical emergencies and eye glasses. We don’t have to do big stuff – just little things with love.

When I came home I changed out of my clergy shirt and new African skirt and put on work clothes. Jessie has felt our “yard” needed attention so I raked the yard, meaning I raked the dirt. It bore a slight resemblance of a Japanese garden minus white sand or stones – just dirt.

Sandy McCann came over and said: “is your sister home?” Soon thereafter Jessie came home with wonderful stories and pictures that I can see her painting. The first thing she wanted was a shower but we had a rash of company and now many hours later she is finally getting her bucket bath. Isn’t it interesting how the simple things in life give us such pleasure?

We all need to re-evaluate our lives and determine what is important in the overall scheme of things. Do I miss nice bed linens, a strong shower? You betcha, but I have enough.

We continue to grieve over the loss of the baby. Jessie painted a picture of the great grandfather on the library walls last year. We feel a connection and a sadness. The father of the baby, Emmanuel Petro said it was God’s will but I don’t think like that although I do believe God redeems everything even is we can’t see it.

Wait until you hear from Jessie.

I wrote 2 blog entries the other night and lost them both to cyber-space. There is no point in trying to recreate them. Each day brings its own challenges.

I watched Jessie go off early this morning in a Land Rover type vehicle packed with children, a wee baby, and 4 adults. I’m not sure how she managed to climb in but you know our Jessie. She was on her way for her 2 days and 1 night in a village with a nightie, toothbrush, clean undies and our shoebrush. We are nut-so over trying to keep our shoes clean, or at least we start out each morning with polished black shoes. I was invited to go along but had already commited to speaking at a retreat today. Quite frankly I don’t know where I would have sat. You never see a car with only one or two people in it ~ they will stop along the road and pick up a walker if there is room. I shall enjoy this vicariously through her and I am sure her next blog entry will be fascinating and I shall have the water heater on and the wine chilled when she returns tomorrow night!

Last night we had dinner with a former student of mine, Alex Moshoka. Jessie and I are sponsoring him at the college here. He’s quite bright and showed me a paper he had written on oppression and I was glad to see a full paragraph on the oppression of women. I congratulated him on his forward thinking in a country where it seems women do all the hard labor, and his desire to see a change here in Africa. His children cooked our meal of rice and stew. I asked him what meat was used. He replied: “cow,” a real delicacy for his family I am sure. His wife Cecilia spoke no English but Alex translated for her and for us. She had lots of questions about America and our families. Even though they have college housing it was very meager and very humble. He is a priest and when I asked him his dreams and hopes he said he wanted to be a teacher.

Much sadness today. A much wanted baby boy died this morning after the mother was delivered by C-section yesterday. Infant mortality rate is disgraceful. Sandy McCann saw the baby this morning and said he was beautiful but nearly white from loss of blood. He died today and was buried today without his mother there. There is no way to embalm a body. Sandy said seeing the grandfathers cry broke her heart. Children, especially boys are much loved and treasured here. But life is as fragile as butterfly wings. This baby would have survived in America.

Thomas Acquinas wrote of the degrees of poverty: ordinary poverty, acute poverty, and destitution. We see destitution every day.

I have not felt much like a deacon since leaving Emmanuel but John Calvin defines deacons as “stewards of the poor.” Perhaps I am where I am suppossed to be. God only knows.

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