Emma’s chipping at stone walls in Africa

My niece Emma is coaching a basketball team, cooking chocolate chip cookies and applying band-aids. In Namibia in Africa. Where she is a Peace Corps volunteer.

Emma, who played basketball in college and loves to cook, has filled in for a coach at a youth league semi-final game and made cookies for the nurses at the hospital where she is working. She has applied lots of band-aids in the hospital’s emergency room. Many people in Namibia don’t wear shoes and frequently get cuts on their feet.

Emma’s African adventures remind me of my friend Margaret, who was in the Peace Corps in Brazil in 1971.

Many years ago, Margaret wrote to me about growing vegetables. “But, the ants, big red devils, are eating the little plants as soon as they break the earth.

“I think, at times, there is really no rhyme or justice or for sure no iambic pentameter in this world.

“What right did I have to be born rich enough to be educated, to be able to reason and hunt for causes, to be able to buy more than enough food to eat and get fat while others live in poverty so deep that empty glass jars are coveted like gold?

“Does one resign oneself to this fact? Or, does one keep butting one’s head against the stone wall hoping that a loose stone may fall from place and let the sun shine through?”


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