Thursday, January 24, 2013


            On Sunday there was a retreat for all Childcare staff at the mission, so the tutors who help out with certain students, or in afternoon and evening studies with all hostel kids; the aunties who are kind of like my dorm mom in boarding school; the few other more administrative people in childcare, including Sister Barbara who is the head; the other volunteer; and me. It was a time for us to reflect on the past year, to consider how what we’re doing truly matters, and to mentally prepare for the year ahead of us. Sister Barbara asked us how, in 2012, we saw that we had been acting as Christ’s hands, mouth, and body on earth. Well this will be easy, I thought to myself. For grad school application essays I spent the past four months enumerating and describing all of my accomplishments as the Malaria Activities Coordinator and in the previous year as the REDES National Financial Director. But, while all of that work was good and necessary work, as I reflected more thoroughly, none of it struck me as God’s work. I started writing and after I had filled an entire page, I reread it and was surprised to find that I wrote nothing about my professional accomplishments, I only wrote about my personal relationships with other people. About the girl who started college in Maputo last year, so I was supposed to collect receipts from her every so often. But when it quickly became clear that she was scared and lonely (she is from a tiny, very bush town that’s 700km from Maputo), I brought her her favorite fruit that she mentioned she missed, I visited her dorm room and walked around campus with her, seeing her classroom buildings and dining hall. It was clear that she valued being able to proudly show off this new life to someone, but that her family would never be able to make the trip down. I wrote about the girl who washed our clothes for us. How I would always talk to her about school and when she found out she had passed she called me five times in a row to tell me (I was in a bus and couldn’t answer, but I just about had a heart attack, I thought someone had died), how we gave a large portion of our clothes and things to her when we left Namaacha. I wrote about spending time with the girls in the orphanage (back in Inharrime), just talking to them about school, stroking their heads, hugging and kissing them, caring about what they said—things that can’t always happen in an orphanage with 70+ girls and 10 adults. I wrote about how my REDES girls would ask me to call them on a weekly basis and would always be excited to tell me when they were doing well in a school subject. It was a wonderful moment of clarity for me to be reminded what really matters at the end of the day. 

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