Today was a perfect Sunday. A perfect day of rest, worship and rejuvenation for the upcoming week. I began to realize the perfection of this day as I hand-washed my clothes from the past week and could hear the sounds of the Primary School boys playing football in the field adjacent to our house and the voices of a local congregation as they praised God in song. In that moment- both relaxation and worship were present and palpable. Even the act of washing my clothes by hand and hanging them to dry in the already intensely bright 10:00 a.m. sun was therapeutic and rejuvenating.
We had risen comparatively late this morning for 7:00 a.m. Mass, instead of 6:10 a.m. Rosary, and were lucky enough to worship with Primarians and Secondarians of Our Lady of Grace School. Last week, we accompanied one of the Dominican Friars to Mass at Maseno University with the Catholic Community of St. Anne(where we met even more lovely Kenyans), but we were glad to stay near home this week and spend more time with the students on their day of rest. Following laundry and lunch- a meal of rice, sukuma wiki (a kale-like Kenyan dish), and eggs, came game time.
As a trail of about 15 young students followed me across the road to the field, I realized that the day would only get better. It was to be a day free of stress, free of technology and free of excess. We then played football, talked, jumped rope, sang and laughed for four hours in a small field with Mango trees and two basketball hoops. Today, I felt like a real friend to the students- not a supervisor, not a visitor and not simply one of the ‘white people,’ but almost a part of their large family. It reminded me of spending time with my own extended family. Specifically, it evoked memories of my childhood spent with my cousins in our grandparents backyard where we could entertain ourselves for hours upon hours. Today, a day of worship, rest, rejuvenation and family, made me realize how amazingly little we actually need in life to be happy.
I now begin my week rested, rejuvenated and with clean, hand-washed, sun-dried clothing.
Since it seems that God is blessing what we are doing here, or simply the ways in which we are ‘being present’ to the students, I will conclude with the following quote and also begin my week meditating on it:
“God's reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection. That is the hope that inspires Christians. We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.” -Archbishop Oscar Romero, March 24 1980