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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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For a number of years I wrote a monthly article in Emmanuel’s newsletter titled:  “From the Deacon’s Heart.”  Even though I was always struggling to meet deadlines, I realize that I have missed putting every day ponderings down on paper.  Now I have a blog with no deadlines.  Mind you, I hardly know what a blog is but thanks to Anna Franklin Smith, Hank’s daughter, we are learning the basics.  Someone said:  “You are a blogger.”  Shucks, I thought I was a deacon.

Today I thought about generosity and gifts.  In today’s mail was a sizeable check  for Karimu from a colleague and friend who is not exactly rolling in dough.  Some of you know him and he would be embarrassed to death if he knew I was writing about him.    He models self-giving to the point of sacrifice, although I’m sure he never thinks in those terms.    He has no cell phone, no answering machine, certainly no computer.  I don’t even think he subscribes to a newspaper.  He lives modestly and even into his 80’s volunteers at the hospital here in Pinehurst.   Jessie and I have been given much larger gifts and some smaller gifts for the people in Tanzania, all appreciated and all to be put to good use, but his gift touched me deeply because I suspect he could use the money himself.   The Africans are like this too.  They share whatever they have.  “Little is much when God is involved.”  Peace be unto you.

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