Exchanging Cultures

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We arrived in Kaoma on Saturday after a 5 1/2 hour drive. Sister Virginia McCall shared history and stories about her various projects as Sister Inez, her associate, drove the orphanage van. On arrival, we settled into our chalet guest homes and then went to the Convent for a wonderful chicken dinner prepared by Clement, the cook. On Sunday, we attended the 2-hour Mass in the Lozi language. The singing was beautiful and even though we did not understand the words, we prayed and celebrated the Eucharist with the people, who welcomed us warmly.

After a great ham dinner, we visited the new Convent being built for the Presentation Sisters here in Kaoma. The current Convent has deep cracks in the foundation and the whole building is sinking. The new Convent has been in construction for three years now and is almost finished. It will be a lovely home; safe, serviceable and much more comfortable for the sisters.

There are currently six sisters here, two Zambian sisters; Sister Clementina and Sister Mbaloya who are nurses and work in the local hospital; two Irish sisters; Sister Angela who works in the parish and Sister Vianney who runs the orphanage and Sister Inez who is from India, works with the sustainability projects alongside our Sister Virginia. These projects include farming, fish ponds, loan fund and a sewing center.

Monday, we visited two villages who have received loans from the Redmond Loan Fund. The people knew we were coming and welcomed Sister Virginia with open arms. They sang a lovely welcoming song for us and then showed us their chickens, their ox cart and told us of all they have been able to do because of the loans. They were so grateful they have been able to send their children to school. These women have paid most of their loans back to the fund. We could tell that the children had been told to stay back as they were peeking through the fence. When we asked if we could take pictures, we also asked if the children could come and join us. The mothers gave the sign and the children came rushing towards us. They were so excited to have their photo taken and exclaimed with laughter when we showed their picture to them. They all decided to escort us to our car, which we had left a half mile away as the road to their village was too narrow to drive. When we arrived at the car, we asked if the children could sing a song … and they sang so lovely for us. We then sang a song back to them. What a wonderful exchange it was, certainly another celebration of sharing life with one another across cultures.

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