Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing Up Catholic

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes
Laudate eum, omnes populi
Quoniam confirmata est
Super nos misericordia eius,
Et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum.

This hymn, based on Psalm 117, was sung at a wedding we recently attended. It was a good moment, because it is a song our children learned while attending Catholic school in Los Angeles during our training. Seeing and hearing the children singing so enthusiastically, it was a good moment to pause and reflect how far they have come, how much they have grown up, since we began our mission. Our children are gradually adopting Cameroonian turns of phrase, and even certain attitudes and behaviors.  And yet, they are sometimes utterly and hopelessly American. Hearing a Latin hymn we learned in Los Angeles at Mass in Cameroon really underlines the whole "universal" aspect of the Church.

Praise the Lord, all nations;
Praise Him, all people.
For He has bestowed
His mercy upon us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever,
and for generations of generations.


Los Angeles 2013

Friday, August 8, 2014

Faces in the Neighborhood

Chrisco is one of the techs for Radio Evangelium, the Catholic Radio station in Kumbo. The station is on the grounds of the John Paul II Youth Village. Chrisco records events, conducts interviews, runs the broadcasting booth, and makes sure everything at the radio runs smoothly. He also records praise and worship music, and strategizes with other artists to get their work out into the public eye. Working with the radio station has given him some great opportunities to gain various skills related to editing, broadcasting, journalism.  

Much of the broadcast content is intended mainly for young people, so Chrisco is a young person helping to evangelize other young people. It is wonderful to see the New Evangelization at work, even in the developing world. It is also wonderful that the diocese of Kumbo makes young people a priority, not just by evangelizing them, but by employing them, training them, helping them to gain skills that are marketable and useful. The John Paul II Youth Village is having a positive impact on the community, and Chrisco is a big part of that. He also has the distinction of being my first Cameroonian "Facebook friend," so there's that. (The woman with us in the picture helps at the radio, as well.)
Madame Yubih is a buyam-sellam down at the Junction. We will often buy our tomatoes, onions, and the occasional cabbage from her. If we are not buying that day, we will greet her as we pass. There is not a very large profit margin for small sellers like Madame Yubih, but as long as you can buy wisely and sell it all, there is a little money to be made. Madame Yubih is always friendly and welcoming to our children, and we like to support her. She is one of many people at Junction that we have come to know. 
There are many other people we meet and interact with on a regular basis, including sellers, taxi drivers, priests and religious sisters, neighbors, missionaries, NGO workers, tailors, doctors... the list goes on. We are very grateful that Kumbo has a small-town feel, and are glad to be a part of the community here.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real" Africa Style


During our weekend in Njinikom, some of us went for a hike down to a small stream to go "swimming." The hike was pretty, the children were pretty, and the destination was pretty. 
Unfortunately, the recent rains had turned the quiet swimming hole into class 4 rapids, so the swimming turned into wading. All in all, it was a good morning hike. Everyone had a good time, and there were berries along the trail.
(As a side note, we heard a crazy story about the trail: it is a cow path, and the cattle go down and up each day to graze. One day, a pregnant cow slipped, fell over, rolled down the hill, and broke her legs. They thought they would have to slaughter her in place and hump the meat up the hill, but she crawled all the way up on her elbows (or whatever cows have instead of elbows).  That's ~1000 ft elevation gain on muddy, slippery, steep ground. She "put to birth" a healthy calf a month later. All's well that ends well!


Well, the rooster did his job, the hens did their job, and now we have chicks! Eleven of them. They make pretty much everyone happy, and are more fun to watch than television. 

Sally came up to us before she went to bed and she said, "I love both of you guys," in the sweetest toddler voice that just made the whole thing funny. I'm glad she loves us, and I have mixed feelings about the use of the word, "guys." (She is also developing a very adorable pout, as you can see in the picture.)


 So, one of the downsides of living here is the insecurity of our property. That means to protect our chicken investment we are compelled to keep them living in our compound with us. (We have been told by many trustworthy people that an exterior hen house would be raided by thieves.) This means that the fowl have easy access to our kitchen, dining room, and courtyard. You can use your imagination to fill in the "real" part of this situation. Shoes are required wear in our courtyard now.