Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Deuil

Wow. What an outpouring of support.
 
Yesterday, I was diligently working with a Central African who is applying for an ELCA scholarship.  (It is long and in English.  In addition, he must complete an even longer application for the institute where he wants to study.)  There was a knock at the door and there, to my astonishment, were 12 of my Central African colleagues from Baboua. (One more came later.)

They had come to express their condolences on the loss of my father and to welcome me back.  It is part of a “deuil.”  This is the French word for mourning, but includes going to visit the family who has lost a loved one.  People sit together to share the grief.  We sang a hymn in Sango.  I am still overwhelmed each time I hear the beautiful singing in harmony!  (One woman even found the hymn in the Sango songbook so I could sing along.) Then Dr. Antoinette and Pastor Tongo prayed.  We ended this mini-service with the Lord’s Prayer and a benediction. 

I cannot express enough how moved I was/am.  They all travelled 50 km. (30 miles) along a road that sometimes still has bandits that stop cars to demand money.  They all came.  They said I was far away when the traditional mourning time passed, so they came now.  It still brings tears to my eyes.  What an outpouring of support and love.  How thoughtful and caring.  God bless them all.

I have to admit that I took a little time to talk about current work issues. J  After all, for about ten days the telephone network in Baboua has not been working much.  Occasionally, I can have a one-minute conversation.  Literally.  After 60 seconds the call drops and I can’t reconnect.  Not a good way to get news or do work!  We were able to share news and set up some visits for longer meetings next week.  And, yes, after people left, Paul and I finished the work we needed to do for the scholarship application.

I am so privileged to work with such a dedicated and supportive team.  

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