True Value

Last night, my dream job announced a 6-week story telling series called, Story-A-Week.

The event kicks off with a beautifully done documentary short by the very talented Brenda Phillips.

It is so, so good. I just had to be sure you saw it too.

Watch the video for a little heart swelling inspiration this morning.

Wow. Right?

This all reminds me of how much I loved visiting Nyaka myself. The singing in the beginning of the video is a woman named Priscilla. She prepared all of my meals and laughed at me when I asked her for soap so that I could hand wash my knickers.

She didn’t believe a muzungu would even know how. :)

So many memories.

Please “like” the Nyaka AIDS Foundation on Facebook to hear stories that will keep your hopes high during what can be a stressful holiday season.

I love gentle reminders of what is most important. While the whole world seems to be crying out holiday sales, Black Friday and price cuts, I want to focus on compassion, hope and faith.

Let’s not forget where true value lies.



Release the Trap

Standing in the kitchen with my husband at the end of the day has become one of my favorite times. We talk about our day as we gather our late night snack or glass of wine. We joke about something silly said by one of our boys or pass on information not appropriate for the waking hours or little ears. Last night was interrupted by a loud snap and then a scream.

At first, I was relieved that we had finally caught the mouse that dared seek shelter in my kitchen uninvited. Then the scraping noises began and I realized that he was not dead. My weak, weepy little heart began to break. Our aforementioned uninvited thief was now trapped and desperately dragging the mouse trap around trying to break free.

Ten minutes of moving our stove and using a broom to coax the mouse out ended in a bewildered housewife walking quickly away from her own hearth with a mouse trap clenched tightly in between tongs. I hope no one heard me begging him to be still before he pulled his little leg off. Lucky for me, it was night time and I was able to put the trap down in the grass in front of my neighbor’s house and release the mouse. Our enemy scrambled into a bed of leaves. No one called the asylum.

I am not a crazy animal lover. I tell the kids all vermin may live in peace until they enter my home and then all deals are off. I occasionally will relocate a beetle, spider or ladybug outside to avoid killing them. I have never thought twice about eating meat. Sorry PETA.

I am, however, a person that cannot bear suffering. It eats at my bones. It makes my heart ache. Watching someone suffer is like suffering myself. This mouse, in a strange way, reminded me of why I became involved with the Darfur movement.

I had never heard of Darfur, Sudan before. The Lost Boys were the beautifully dark young men that worked at Meijer when I first moved to Lansing. Genocide happened in Europe and stayed there as far as I knew. The moment I heard otherwise my bones began to ache. I began to dream about their children with the faces of my children. I worried for the women, who like me, were pregnant. Unlike me, they were hunted like animals.

The stupid mouse that was eating my bread is nothing like the human beings in Darfur that are suffering daily. Fortunately for the mouse, in the safety of my kitchen, I can release the trap.