Pilgrims' Potpourri

Reflections on our journey with God

An Oasis for Lost Boys November 5, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcnedsol @ 1:57 pm

In the movie Peter Pan, Pete Pan and Tinker Bell visit the island of the lost boys, A place for orphans. Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has over 300,000 boys living on the streets, many of them living their lives at the underpasses of the cities arterial highways.  These boys as young as five live with the other homeless who inhabit this major city.   They are subjected to predators of all kinds.  It is hard to imagine being so young and having to fend for myself in this world. 

The Little sisters of St. Francis Assisi offer an alternative to street life for these street orphans   Kweli Home of Hope  provides a residence, three meals a day, and an opportunity for these boys to experience a loving, safe and nurturing home. 

The boys greeted us with a warm welcome and after introductions put on a show that could make the YouTube top charts.   They danced, rapped, Recited poems and even did some acrobatics in a small room crammed full. One of the boys read a poem about happiness. A line from that poem and the way that young man read it is etched in my memory. He said happiness is here and now -don’t wait for it to come later.  What a profound bit of wisdom coming from the mouth of a boy who had experienced such frightening conditions on the streets.  

When the entertainment ended The boys invited us white folk to get up and dance with them. While I was unable to do the sophisticated moves they did with every limb of their body, I did my best to keep up with a mixture of Lebonese, Italian, and rock ‘n’ roll dancing.  They laughed as I tried to imitate their moves and for a few moments we just celebrated the joy of being free to move our bodies to the rhythmic beat of the music.  

As we were about to leave, the boys presented us with wrist bracelets that they had made of simple beads. Each bracelet was individualized with our names.  

The plan is to move this house of hope to a rural area just outside of Nairobi where the boys will be engaged in a variety of agriculture activities and have a little more space than they have now.  It is  hoped that this environment will offer them a refuge from the harshness of the city and a place to experience the simple joys of God’s good earth 

In his ministry Jesus walked to the places where the poor, forgottenand lost people of  his world Lived to offer healing and hope and a safe harbor in God’s reign. This is what the good news is all about. And Jesus shared the truth that every person on this planet is God’s beloved son or daughter.  Thatis what the little sisters of St. Francis do at this home of hope for the lost boys of  Nairobi.  It is no coincidence that the name Kweli means truth in Swahili   

Prayer for this day:  Jesus, refuge of the lost and broken hearted, give me the grace to be a refuge for all who are discarded and marginalized in my little corner of this world.  And help me to be an instrument to bring your justice and truth to reign on this fragile planet.  Amen


Eyes that do not see-ears that do not hear November 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcnedsol @ 4:39 am

Journey to Africa. November 2, 2016

Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? (Mark 8:18)
On all saints day after celebrating mass with the African sisters of the immaculate heart, we visited a residential service for deaf children.When the gates to the program was opened and we walked through to the grounds, about 75 children of all ages ran toward us. They greeted us with overflowing joy, smiling faces and an energy and excitement that was irresistible. After this warm welcome they put on a performance of dance and song to entertain us.  

I sat down with a small group of children. I used my cell phone and the few signs I know to communicate with the kids. They absolutely loved reading my questions and answering them as well as asking me some questions.
  They especially liked it when I took their pictures on my cell phone and then show them what they looked like.I also spent some time doing some tricks with the little rocks I found under the tree where we gathered in the warm African sun. The kids were fascinated by my hair and wanted to touch it. They also did what all kids do and laughed heartily at my silly antics. 

One of the boys asked me in sign languageif I could take him home with me. His pure innocence and openness opened me eyes and ears to see. The gospel words of Jesus came alive. This Young boy wanted to take a selfie with me and so I have attached Pat to this post. My experience at this wonderful Haven for children with special needs reminded me of all my life experience with people who are special. While the world often sees people with disabilities as people with deficits and who are in need, I have always seen Them as people can offer something to this world if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Maybe this is why Jesus told his followers to let the children come to him. Jesus saw in there innocent faces the goodness and purity of heart with which God created them and wanted his followers to open their eyes to see the same.  

Prayer for this day: Lord give me the gift of holy simplicity. Let me see in the little ones, the little of body the little of mind and a little of wealth, your spirit. Open my eyes and ears to receive the good news from those who live life on the margins and work for just us so that all the little ones may have a place at the table of plenty. Amen.


┬áLife turned upside down November 2, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcnedsol @ 6:21 pm

        October 31 2016. 

        A world turned Upside down 

        I have been in Africa for 11 days. We have visited many different sites,travelled through large cities,walked through slums and met people from many different tribes and cultures. In a sea of black faces our little group of white pilgrims stands out. 
        Despite our minority status here I have never experienced any prejudice, mistrust or fear in the eyes or actions of the people. They have much to be out angry about. The majority of people live under extremely oppressive conditions including abject poverty, extreme heat and few possibilities for change. The Social conditions are ripe for anger, resentment, scapegoating and fear of people who are different, especially people who live in the developed world.  

        Yet we have not experienced any negative reactions. Since our arrival we have been heartily welcomed with friendly smiles and hospitality. This is dramatically different from the experiences of people of color in the USA who are subjected to racial profiling, scapegoating and mistreatment of every kind. The horrendous sin of slavery is like a millstone which holds Americans back from celebrating diversity, rejoicing in our differences and seeing each other as sisters and brothers with the same hopes and dreams. The joyful faces and trusting spirits of the African children remind us that it does not have to be this way.  

        Prayer for the day. Lord help me to see in each person I meet today what you see- your beloved daughter or son. Give me the gift of sight to see your face in others especially those who are different from me. Amen.