Little blessings

Our daily life is becoming more of a routine. We are adjusting to regular power outages ranging from 2 – 8 hours every few days. About two weeks ago the pump for the bore hole, where we get all of the water for our house, broke. It took just over a week to repair. Conveniences make life easier but they aren’t always necessary or available here in Malawi. For a short period of time we drew water from the neighbor’s outdoor spigot for essential water needs until the pump was fixed. [Read more…]

Yes means no

What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?…” Matthew 21:28-31 [Read more…]

Happy Fasika!

Tracy with some students from the Comboni high school.

I know that most of the world celebrated Easter in early April, but here in Ethiopia we just celebrated Fasika, or Easter, on May 5. Holy week was very busy here – everyone in the Orthodox and Catholic churches attends all of the services from Thursday through the Easter Vigil. For the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians their Easter Vigil lasted until about 3 a.m. and then people were allowed to break the strict fast they had been on for 50 days. For the previous 7 weeks all goats, chickens and cows had been safe, but there was a huge slaughter for Easter Sunday and massive amounts of meat were served and consumed. [Read more…]

A bed is a bed if it is a bed to you

I had a beautiful and powerful time in Dadim last fall when I stayed and worked for two months on the emergency feeding program during the drought. Upon returning back to Awassa ‘city’ I was very happy to be re-united with Mark and to be back at Bushulo clinic with my patients and co-workers, but in some ways it was a difficult adjustment as a part of me longed for the people of Dadim. There is something magical about the pastoralists, their lifestyle and the rugged terrain of their lands that really draws one in.

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Mourning and healing

The traditions of mourning the death of a loved one are some of the most different to us coming from a western culture.  Funerals are significant occasions in Ethiopia that involve the entire community. A white tent pitched alongside a house or the street is a sure sign of a family in mourning. When a person dies, mourners gather at the deceased’s home to comfort the family. The mourning tent will remain up for more than a week and during that time the family is never alone. Friends and relatives (and distant relatives and acquaintances) will come by each day to speak and offer their condolences but mostly to sit in silence with the family.  A typical funeral may be attended by thousands of people.

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How are you?

One morning this week, after daily Mass, I was hurrying to get back to the house in time to finish getting ready for work. Instead of giving individual greetings to each member of the community as I normally do, I said a general good morning to everyone. Later in the morning, Br. Luigi teasingly told me that he was mad at me because I hadn’t said good morning to him. I realized that because I hadn’t greeted him separately, I had not in fact actually greeted him. Whereas in America a communal greeting is perfectly acceptable, here it is not sufficient and in some situations may even be considered rude.
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Filled with small graces

My first Christmas in Ethiopia has been filled with small graces. In truth, I had been feeling melancholy for most of the month of December. Christmas in Ethiopia is celebrated on January 7 not December 25. But more significant to me is that Christmas is considered a minor feast in Ethiopia. There are no special traditions, decorations or even special hymns for Christmas. So I had really been praying to just get through December.

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The littlest missionary

Many azungu (white people) return to their home countries to have babies and the fact that we didn’t has been a source of much surprise and joy to every Malawian we encounter. Malawians express great pride in our son Seth being born here. People in our village have claimed him as their own, calling him Mwana wa Malawi (Malawian baby) and Mwana wathu (our baby). We even have had more than one person joke with us that when we return to the States we will have to leave him with them.

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Letting us be Church

Serving as a lay missionary in a community on the outskirts of Trujillo, Peru, my job title changes by the day. At times I am the liturgy coordinator, other times community animator, director of music, or young adult leader. Through each of these roles I am being stretched, I am in process, learning new ways to live in our world.

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She didn’t need to carry the bitterness

Since the Peruvian government is considering enacting the death penalty as punishment for convicted terrorists, I thought it would be interesting for my bible study group to reflect on its morality in light of the scriptures. I must admit I wondered what the ladies would think of the topic since we rarely talk about larger scale social issues; we mostly talk about daily life.

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