Morning Prayer for Sunday July 4

Welcome to Morning Prayer from the Anglican Parish of Pasadena and Cormack. Thanks to parishioners Marilyn Simmons (leading our prayers) and Mona and Gerard Edwards (Double Vision; leading “On Eagle’s Wings” and “I’m a Believer”). The sermon is based on 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. 

Parts of the service were recorded on the South Brook Trail in Pasadena, NL.

You can watch the service here

Thank you for joining us today!

  1. Thank you. I am listening to old recordings in the morning. Peter and I are discussing June 18 tomorrow night!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Truly enjoyed the service so much today. Thank you.
    We are having off and on weather today so am not sure what the evening will be.
    Judye

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  3. April 27, 2022

    Dear Family and Friends:

    I am happy to share that the workshops with Gideon went better than I expected. It felt as though our work took a step forward beyond sustainability.

    Gideon’s education and health care workshops engaged the audience for two full days. Although we predictably started late…transportation went as well as expected given that 25 people came from remote villages outside St. Philip’s.

    Gideon engaged the audience of 40+ people, including families, priests, students and staff by relating to them in ways that I never could have. For example, he encouraged a very reluctant audience to open up about its use of witchdoctors—which is contrary to Anglican beliefs. His purpose was to draw them out and talk about the health care they were accessing, and to push them to use the hospitals to solve their medical problems. He shared how the law could empower them to get proper health care even though it might be more expensive and time-consuming.

    He pushed back and challenged the audience to think and act differently. For example, when Mama Becca, a friend who appears to have spina bifida and crawls on the floor without her wheelchair, said that the new bank was not handicapped accessible as the law Gideon shared said it should be…

    Gideon asked her, “Did you complain to the bank? Did you tell them that public buildings need to be accessible?”

    She said, “No”

    “Did you talk to the bank about accessibility before it was built???” he asked.

    “No.”

    “You need to speak up for yourself and others, if anything is to change.” Gideon urged.

    Up until now I was reluctant to push my families to speak out. I didn’t know what was culturally appropriate. Gideon’s workshops confirmed, for me, that my understanding of the Tanzanian law is solid, and more importantly that how I approach advocacy in the US would be similar here, albeit with significant economic constraints. For example, Gideon kept emphasizing that “only by claiming your rights will things change…individually and for the community…You don’t need to be beggars. The law protects you from discrimination.”

    He highly recommended that they buy basic, low cost health insurance to gain access to a doctor, exams and medicine; however, they can also approach the hospital social worker for a letter of recommendation (related to indigency due to disabilities) to gain some free health care.

    The audience broke into periodic discussion groups. Their comments will help focus our priorities going forward. For example, they identified that more compassion, less discrimination, respect for their privacy rights, training and supervision of staff all need attention in both the educational and health care fields.

    Families shared some practical realities of enforcing the law. For example, when they do go to the hospital and medicine is prescribed, the hospital typically tells them that it is out of the free medicine, *but* they can purchase it for cash in the town pharmacies! How do people living in poverty fight the system? Gideon said, “You need to reach out to the medical director of the hospital and failing that go to the District Minister of Health. Continue to go up the chain of command, just like America, until your rights are enforced. (Apparently a recent story broke in which an audit of the health care system revealed this multi-year drug fraud.)

    On the third day we met separately in town with some educational officers, and then the medical director and social worker at the hospital. These preliminary conversations will hopefully lead to more doors opening, and help us define a workplan with our Coordinator, Zablon. For example, I would like to know more about the District budgeting process and how priorities are set so that our family support group members can attend meetings and have their voices heard. In addition, the Census is being taken this August. How will the disabled be counted, if they are in hiding? They need to be counted so the government can quit claiming they are ready to serve them, but they can’t find them. How can Zablon and our clinic members work with our family support groups to encourage them to take preliminary steps toward advocacy by getting counted and learning about the budget?

    I am excited that our project is taking a step forward given how actively the families and students engaged in our workshops, and that we are in a position with Zablon, as Coordinator, to work on some of the priorities our families identified. I hope that Gideon will come back in the fall to do a workshop on the Local Government legal responsibilities, and then work directly with several families, who have educational and/or medical problems, to teach them (and us) how to advocate in person.

    While the students were on an Easter break I went back to the language school for more training.

    While at the language school, I re-connected with my dear friend Mama B, who I have known from the outset. I learned that her 75th birthday was coming up, and although I can’t attend, she agreed to a birthday luncheon with me. Over lunch I was able to confirm with a veteran that our experiences in Kongwa with health care are similar to her experiences with families in Morogoro, an urban center. In addition, we had some chuckles about the mindset of our families—waiting for handouts rather than doing the work together.

    Mama B is a remarkable woman who has devoted her life to improving the lives of children with disabilities, especially the intellectually impaired, like her late son Erik. She continues to run a residential pre-school for 14 severely disabled youngsters expecting them all to do their part to reach their potential with the love and patience of a saint.

    I seem more aware of climate change here and in America with Utah’s 20-year drought. This is the spring season when everything should look green for months. In March it looked like the Garden of Eden in Kongwa, and one month later everything is shockingly brown and dried out. The crops are literally dying on their stalks. Apparently, this condition is occurring throughout Tanzania even in areas with more than one rainy season, unlike Kongwa where I live.

    In March, Maria and her siblings, who live below my apartment in Westgate, watered the family maize and sunflower plants every morning at 6 am before school. In April they quit tending to them because they were dying on the stalk. It was so sad to see all their hard work with heavy hand hoes and hand watering from buckets go to waste knowing that they will be hungry in the months ahead.

    According to Agripa, this is one of the worst farming years he recalls; there are *no* crops to harvest for the families in our area this year. They depend upon the harvest in each April and May to carry them through until the next year. In conversation with Hawa (my friend who works in the house) she said, “She has no sunflowers, maize or karanga nuts to harvest.” When I asked her what she will do she responded, “I will climb the mountain nearby and cut wood for cooking to sell as long as my stomach pain is ok.” Agripa also pointed out how much inflation is affecting buying power here as the price of maize and fuel go up a lot thus squeezing everyone, including the college, even more.

    I fear that there is a disaster looming until next May. I have heard that widespread famine in Africa is a distinct possibility given how much grain typically comes from Russia and the Ukraine to Africa. That coupled with no harvest, inflation and no capital to fall back on has Peter and I talking about the future.

    These are my friends. I love them. And my community is here. My stomach is in knots, and my itty bitty shitty committee (my mind) is working overtime. Peter and I have been talking about how we might respond? I don’t have enough money to save their lives. If I stay here in solidarity with them, I am potentially eating the food they need. Will they resent the white muzuguu when pushed by desperation? However, just turning everything over to God (which is what Hawa suggests) seems an insufficient response. How can I exercise my free will (in addition to prayer) to respond? As of right now we have reached out to The (national) Episcopal Church for perspective since they have worked with missionaries all over the world for years. They have started to gather intelligence on the magnitude of the problem and possible next steps. Peter and I are talking with Agripa to get his sense of where life is going. He’s the expert. Will St. Philip’s open this fall? What is his plan for the next few months? How can we support him?

    Life here feels very much like two steps forward and one step back. This coming year could be several steps back. I have to continue to practice something that is very hard for me…living one day at a time…like my friends here have been showing me…especially while living in the relative lap of luxury in America feeling helpless as the news unfolds.

    Sorry for the Debbie Downer ending. I figured that I should share what is going on in an authentic way, and not leave you thinking all is well when it is not. Thank you for reading (and listening). It is helpful to share these thoughts with people who care.

    If I can get more of my medications, I will stay longer…but I am having trouble finding them…so I should be home soon. I look forward to re-connecting stateside!

    Love,

    *Wendy*

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    1. Dear Wendy, Thank you so much for this update and for sharing your work, thoughts, prayers. Looking forward to reconnecting with you, and saying lots of prayers for you, the students, all at St Philip’s and in the area. Love and blessings, Amy

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