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“O Gladsome Light, of the Holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly Holy, blessed Jesus Christ!” (Holy Saturday Morning Prayers)
This is one of my most favorite days in the village. We have just celebrated the Miracle of the Holy Fire in Taybeh at the outskirts of our village, a little after 5 pm in the late afternoon on this Great and Holy Saturday, after waiting since 2:10 pm local time when this great miracle occurred once again in Jerusalem.
“The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord. Oh Lord, hear my cry.” This prokimenon, taken from Psalm 63, has always painted a beautiful picture for me. As I hear these words of Scripture chanted, I feel the words paint a picture of joyful praise, a picture of reliance on God, of hope in our Lord. This prokimenon also brings up an interesting question: Who are the Righteous?
“A rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much. For what he gives away remains his forever.” St. John Chrysostom
Whenever I go to Boston, I stop by Karibu Café, an East African restaurant run by a family from Zanzibar. I get to eat things like matoke (plantain) and senene (fried grasshoppers), but what I enjoy more is talking with Mama Shamsa and her brother Isa, in Kiswahili or English. They help me with my Kiswahili and we laugh a lot (at me). Sometimes they give me a free order of maandazi (East African doughnuts) or other good things. Google has helped me find a community.
That time of year just sneaked up again. It is a special time to shift gears and direct our lives to what is pleasing, good and holy to God. On this Clean Monday even Israel is trying to keep their buses clean from Palestinians while I am forcing myself to think how to keep my soul clean.
Furaha na amani! Joy and Peace! Last time I promised that in my next update I would tell you more about nursing in Tanzania. In January, I received my Tanzanian nursing license, which allows me to practice as a nurse in Tanzania for the next two years. Once I obtained my license I quickly made an appointment with the nursing officer in charge of a local hospital.
It is already the end of February, and time is flying by fast. Great Lent is around the corner. I want to share several events that have happened from December up to the present date.
Six weeks into my stay in Tanzania, I was almost in tears as I walked down the hill to vespers. During the afternoon I had discovered that the source of the pain I had been feeling in my leg for the last week was not just any infection: it was an infestation of maggots that were eating my flesh. I had managed to extract four of them. Two maggots were left. I had swallowed my panic, but it was eating at me no less than the worms themselves. The next person I saw was going to get a tongue-lashing, and there was nothing I could do to stop myself but pray.
It has been great fun not knowing how to use anything technical that my children have, but I seriously love the GPS (Global Positioning System) on their phone. The Google map application is just amazing to me especially because it’s no longer my fault when we get lost.
I am still trying to figure out which side of the concrete “Wall” is the wrong side, since most of the time I am feeling locked up behind an official 26-foot high “Separation Barrier” on Palestinian land, but when I am in my husband’s village of Taybeh, I end up speaking to God more.