Thursday, January 22, 2009


As we await the arrival of the new set of novices on the 30th of January the Formation Team has been busy with meetings planning the new year. We have met a couple of times already and a few more are in the offing.
Tomorrow we begin three days of Team building with Fr Michael Taggart and Sr Mary Anne Hoope. This will give us an oportunity to look at how we relate and work together as a Team. Our experience of working as a Team has been good but like most things we are not perfect and there are areas that we need to look at and see how we can work on them.
On the 28th Prince and Vivek will travel down to Accra to welcome the new group of Novices who are due to arrive on the 30th of January. Hopefully all will arrive on that day. The only thing certain about travelling in Africa is its uncertainty! We intend to drive up to Tamale on the 31st morning leaving Accra well before dawn to arrive Tamale in the early afternoon.
Of the 15 novices listed below you will notice that six are from Kenya, four from Zambia, three from Sierra Leone and one each from Ghana and Namibia.
Paul Mutuku Mbithi (Kenya),Constantine Sunday Otieno (Kenya), Chrispinus Munialo Okumi (Kenya), David Otieno Oyugi (Kenya), Peter Muthini Ndivo (Kenya), Nicholas Odhiambo Minandi (Kenya), Sydney Muponda (Zambia), Kashewka Brian Chipango (Zambia), Likisi Innocent Mubanga (Zambia), James Janeiro Malunga (Zambia), Cornelius Pengnyin (Ghana), Bainda John Foday (Sierra Leone), Peter Amara Kabia (Sierra Leone), Frank Jr Borbor (Sierra Leone), Jordaan Sagarias Rikambura (Namibia).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Praise Song for the Day!

The following is the transcript of the poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander at the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the US of A.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere, with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of some one and then others, who said I need to see what's on the other side. I know there's something better down the road. We need to find a place where we are safe.

We walk into that which we cannot yet see. Say it plain: that many have died for this day.

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself, others by first do no harm or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national, love that casts a widening pool of light, love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,any thing can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


There are days when I reflect
upon the moments of my history
and I taste satisfied fragrance,
like a well-aged bottle of wine.

It is easy then to ponder
the beauty of Isaiah’s God:
holding me in tender arms,
etching my name on divine palms.

There are other long-spent days
when I chew upon my memories,
only to taste the dry crumbs
of stale and molded bread.

How difficult then to perceive
the steadfast love of God;
how empty then is my longing
for a sense of divine embrace.

There are yet other days
when I sit at a great distance,
looking at the life that is mine;
threading the loom of my past
with a deep belief in faithfulness.

It is then that I see how fidelity
has little to do with fine feelings,
and everything to do with deep trust,
believing the One who holds me in joy
will never let go when sorrow steps in.
(Joyce Rupp)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cull of the rabbits and the planting of Mango trees

We had to cull 6 of our adult rabbits as they were eating up every bit of green in the property. With the end of the rains and the lack of fresh grass they attacked every plant leaf within reach and when leaves were not available they went at the bark!! So the choice had to be made between the rabbits and saving the vegetation. And in this area rabbits do grow faster than plants so the decision was made to cull the rabbits. We still have 14 young rabbits but they are encaged and their movements limited. A rabbit enclosure is being considered.

In January, Henry initiated the planting of 10 mango trees. All of them are grafted plants and we got them from the Intergrated Tamale Fruit Company(ITFC). They are being well cared for by Henry and Mohammad our gardener/watchman! The fact that we getting a very regular and bountiful supply of water from the municipality now helps in taking better care of the saplings even in this dry season.

I am told that the saplings should start bearing fruit in three years time!! One plants another harvests!!

PS: Did i mention that rabbit meat is delicious??

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Time of the Harmattan!!

The Harmattan is a seasonal wind which blows across Northwestern Africa every year from November through March, at intermittent strengths. This wind has become famous with visitors to the area, who often struggle with Harmattan conditions, and residents often speak ill of it, since it can interrupt daily life for days. However, the Harmattan also has a pleasant side; it pushes the hot weather of summer away, introducing a note of cool breeze into this notoriously hot region of the world.

This famous wind blows from North to South, working its way across the Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea. Along the way, it tends to pick up sand and dust, turning into a very drying, dusty wind. When the Harmattan really gets going, the dust can create a cloudy haze which can sometimes intensify into an actual sandstorm. Visitors to the area have been taking note of the Harmattan since at least the 17th century, when the word “Harmattan” entered the English language.

“Harmattan,” incidentally, appears to come from the Twi language of Ghana. Some people have suggested that it may be related to the Arabic word haram, which means forbidden. In any case, when the dust in this wind gets thick enough, it can bring life to a halt, as people cannot travel outside to trade or socialize. Harmattan winds have also notoriously interrupted flight schedules and caravans across the Sahara.

When the Harmattan is more mild, it can create a delicate haze which looks almost like smog. Much like smog, the Harmattan haze can look strangely beautiful, especially at dawn and dusk, when the light captures the particles in the air, creating a strangely diffused look. This seasonal wind can also cause dramatic weather conditions, when it interacts with other winds and weather systems. Harmattan winds can even cross the Atlantic; dust from the Sahara has been reported in the Americas after a particularly brisk Harmattan.

North Africans often say that the Harmattan wind brings about bad tempers and poor decision making, as people grow irritated with the days on end of dry, dusty wind. In Niger, people say that men and animals become increasingly irritable when this wind has been blowing for a while, giving it a bad reputation. However, the cool wind brings relief from the oppressive heat, which is why the Harmattan has earned the nickname "The Doctor".

Walk a new path this new year!!!

One day through the primeval wood, a calf walked home as good calves should;But made a trail all bent askew, a crooked trail as all calves do.Since then three hundred years have fled, and I infer that calf is dead;But still he left behind his trail, and thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day, by a lone dog that passed that way.And then a wise bellwether sheep, pursued the trail o'er vale and steepAnd drew the flock, behind him too, as good bellwethers do.And from that day, o'er hill and glade, through these old woods a path was made;And many men wound in and out, and dodged and turned and bent around,And uttered words of righteous wrath, because t'was such a crooked path.But still they followed. . .do not laugh, the first migration of that calf.

This crooked lane became a road, where many a poor horse with its load Toiled on beneath the burning sun, and traveled some three miles in one.And thus a century and a half, they trod the footsteps of that calf.The years passed on in swiftness fleet, the road became a village street;And this before people were aware, a city's crowded thoroughfare. And soon the central street was this, of a renowned metropolis;And people two centuries and a half, trod in the footsteps of that calf.A hundred thousand people were led, by one calf near three centureies dead.

For humans are prone to go it blind, along the calf paths of the mind;And work away from sun to sun, to do what other folk have done.They follow in the beaten track, and out and in and forth and back.But still their devious course pursue, to keep the path that others do;They keep the path a sacred groove, along which all their lives they move

But how the wise old wood gods laugh, who saw the first primeval calf!