June 5, 2017
Update from the Field #2
How are all of you? We are doing well. The food here is phenomenal. The salads are works of art. We start our meals first with fruit, mango, papaya, banana, or orange. We eat a couple of these before the salad… avocado, onion, grated carrot, tomato, purple cabbage, olive and other things. We drizzle a simple dressing over it. Then the vegetables come… green beans and carrot with onion and pepper, fried plantain, bitter greens in a cream base with onion, and today chicken cooked with onion and tomato. They want us to eat more, more, and more! Already we are full. They push the bread our way… no room. There will be more tonight at supper. If we don’t gain weight on this trip, it will either be illness or self-discipline. The food is lavish for us at the head table.
I now agree with Victoria…. these are the #1 mangos! We are being spoiled by all the care.
Today water came from the cistern. Thank God. I used 2 cups of water only for yesterday’s “bath” and about the same this morning. Victoria took a shower the first night near Douala, but I did not, thinking the lodging would improve in Dschang. Wrong! So I am craving a real shower. Tonight I will settle for a full bucket of water and even be able to wash my hair. This is a huge gift to us today. You have no idea what a challenge it is to live where it is warm and humid and not have water.
I have fallen in love with these sisters. Slowly their individualities are emerging…trying to remember 28 names of women in habits is a slow process. But, now smiles are looking unique and patterns apparent. They are lovely women…who work so hard and live so simply. What an inspiration! These are the saints among us. With all their hardships (loss of family members to death, troubles in the community, health problems galore) they are pleasant and grateful. Would that we are the same.
Sr. Elisabeth introduced us on Wednesday and told the community that before them was the church, priest, religious, and laity working together as a team. This retreat was a microcosm of what the church can be: a laywoman director of retreat, a religious body therapist, and a priest translator. I thought it was a perfect image. One sister today confirmed they have never had a laywomen direct the retreat… but it is so different that she is learning a lot. Praise God for openness.
That’s it for now. Pray we get on the internet to send this.
Peace, Nicki and Victoria