One of our wishes for this visit to Africa is to catch up with old friends from our days of living here. Most of our day is taken up with helping at Bakhita Village, but we are also re-connecting with so many others. We want the people who live here, either as citizens or missionaries or volunteers, to know that they are appreciated.
Our good friend Lucy Makgalo is a wonderful woman who began teaching us the local language when we first arrived in 2000. She is extremely patient and kind and helped us immensely with cultural issues, advice, directions and you name it. We grew to care so much for her and her husband Thomas spending many hours talking about families, politics, education and even singing songs as part of the Makhalo family choir. Thomas died last year and we visited Lucy to offer our condolences and catch up on all that's happened since we last saw her even getting a photo of Lucy and her granddaughter Lucy.
Our good friend, Benedict Moila, helps us in so many ways. He is always willing to share his time and expertise in all things African. Ben and his family have welcomed us into their home on many occasions and made their last loaf of bread stretch to feed many. He works with Jesuit Refugee Services helping countless refugees mostly from Zimbabwe but also from other war-torn African nations giving them food, clothing, shelter and spiritual support. We are delighted to spend time with Ben and his staff at the JRS office in South Africa.
At the St. Brendan's School and Bakhita Village compound are 6 Sisters from 2 different orders. They teach religious education classes at school, they do outreach ministry in the local area such as helping with funerals, and two of them run Bakhita Village on a day-to-day basis. The sisters all work hard and they have devoted their lives to helping others. They are from Indonesia, Uganda and Kenya. The living environment around Bakhita Village is relatively harsh. It's hot, dusty, stark and the property is located in the bush, making travel difficult. We invited all the Sisters to dinner last Saturday and made it a joyous light-hearted affair with wine and candlelight. By the end of evening we were all holding hands and singing (not Kumbaya but close). It was a enjoyable evening and a way for us to thank them for all they do.
Living simply as we do here is very refreshing. Given that we are vegans (99%), eating is easy. Many meals a week consist of a bowl of beans, bread and very fresh mangoes. What could be nicer?