Called to Witness Nigeria, Travelogue

The Sharing

Packing up to leave Jos was somewhat of a sad day. We all developed many friendships in the few days there.

Nigerian Market Vendor

Amy Bly poses with a market vendor who delighted the Called to Witness group by trying to teach them how to carry food and wares on the head, a typical practice by many women in Nigeria.

We went to debrief with the department heads of the Justice Development & Peace/Caritas Commission (JDPC), the Diocesan Health Committee (DHC) and the Youth Chaplain, Father Alex. There was an exchange of experiences, suggestions and ideas between all, allowing us to further discover the commonality we share. Someone stated, “We have seen the risen Jesus in the people of Jos and they too have seen the risen Jesus in us.” I must mention that Ayo who was in the seminary for 7 years, stood up and thanked us. He stated he left the church, has three children whom are not baptized and now because of his experiences with us is returning to the church and will have his children baptized.

We were given beautiful gifts; the ladies were given purses and the men were given native shirts, both by a co-op for prison inmates, and Father Alex asked us to please pray for the inmates. We all posed for pictures, or “snaps” as they are called, hugged each other goodbye one last time, exchanged e-mail address, loaded up and left.

We hadn’t driven very far, perhaps only to the outskirts of town when we stopped at a roadside stand that sold all sorts of beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables. The team from CRS in Abuja was going to purchase a few items for their families. The idea was to stay in the van. Of course none of us could, and out we piled to experience carrying fruits and vegetables on our heads. They were much heavier than we expected which gave us an appreciation for the hard work the ladies are doing.

Our nightly reflection was just as moving as the experiences of the day. We were interrupted too many times to count: The lights flickered off and on. Then the phone rang. We had to stop to get measured for the clothes we were having made. Finally, the maintenance man stopped by to fix the toilet. Life happens, yet, sometimes in the most surprising manner through the sharing of ideas, stories and acts of kindness! When we finally finished our nightly reflection, the thoughts of our dialogues reminded me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Thought is the blossom, language is the bud and action is the fruit behind it.”

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