28 July 2015 You sent me here to learn, to help, to love. I'm here to answer your call of love. Plane to Addis Ababa Something new begins: It tastes like hope. God has forgiven every sin and, therefore, every fight, every cry, every cruelty. We are children of a new beginning, where the edge of the woods end. I wish you could see the moon tonight, her sweet silver light bathing the wing of the plane and promising a trip full of blessings. 30 July 2015 Early in Somali Region There is peace in the room during siesta. The fan above my mattress swing the mosquito nets that hang from the ceiling. Despite my doubts and concerns, I look for you tirelessly, I look for joy and peace. Night We walked barefoot in the chapel and we prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in consecration. These little things make me happy. 2 August, 2015 Yesterday morning we left the Galilee Center and headed to another part of the Somali region. It's like really being in Somalia, at least for me, because I only hear Somali, I see much darker faces of a different race, and there are nothing but mosques here. I have bruises on my whole body and still I laugh to remember Vicente bouncing in the car. Here everything is more austere. We showered with brown water and it looks like every every bug in the world has found their home here. Teresa and I have killed at least fifteen spiders that were quietly hanging from the ceiling. But I like this site, the chapel with its special silence, and the cooks who will be with us these 11 days are very kind. It has been six days since I left Spain, but actually my entire life, as if Spain was a dream. Yesterday when that great cloud of mosquitoes came down from the skyand landed on our plates, we finished by eating wihout looking too much at what was on our plates. Today was the first camp for kids while Juan, Sr. Joachim, Beatriz and Maria started a small, but well organized clinic. I remember the Hindus were naughty children and the Aborigines of Argentina had a certain sweetness to them, but had never seen anything like Somalis. They are completely wild and timid, It’s apparent that they like to sing and dance and enjoy the projects but in the end they take all kinds of material to their homes. When Luz has grabbed a girl's waist in a gesture of affection, a lot of pencils that the girl had hidden inside her skirt fell out. There was not a gesture of love or a hug on the first day. The do not know how to show their affections, except perhaps rage. The girls especially behave more savagely and fight amongst each other with their hoarse voices. This, plus the fact that they are mutilated and that they dread school because they are caught between household chores and caring for siblings, makes me sick. I'll try to teach them everything I can, but I would be happy if they knew about love, the love I want to give them.
7 August 2015 “The things I possess end up possessing me” - St. Francis of Asisi, 12th century 10 August 2015 Yesterday when we entered the classrooms, a girl was there alone. She cried and cried without stopping, she was 2 or 3 years old, with the veil over her burnished skin and her eyes were as big as stars. None of the adults who roamed outside the building bothered to pick her up or at least contemplate her desolation. I picked her up and gave her kisses until she stopped crying and I brought her to her class and stayed with her until I thought she was happy. In the evenings, the Muslim prayers from the mosques is less Arabic and has an African touch. I am intrigued by the families here. Sometimes I want to enter their houses and talk to them, look into their soul and see the hand of God in their lives. “God has a personal love story with everyone,” Father Christopher says in catechism. It gives me a lump in my throat when I think about leaving. God knows where these poor people will be next year, God nows where I’ll be. 12 August 2015 Adoration I always take you with me
You are a part of me
The hand that holds my heart
And the pulse that pumps blood Seeing you always from here
Looking up, I see
Cradled in the wind of the trees
You whisper amonst the branches
You hold me in the sun that pours
From the window I wish and, like the artist's hands
Molding clay with impatience
I long to find your face and burn
A fire in my soul and my senses
And I will yell, yell your name
That you are mine and I am yours You captivate me, the woman of the desert
With the book in her lap
A thousand years passed, two thousand, sand and dust
She is faithful, waiting in the desert
Until you come back and open the book.
29 July 2015 Addis Ababa Twenty years of training come to the surface when I am torn from my homeland to be like an uncomfortable witness to the lives of the most abandoned. Addis is chaotic, like Lahore. My whole being is twisted and wants to empty itself but on the other hand, I see my own pettiness and it paralizes my hands. However, I remember all the things of the past as if they happened yesterday. In the house of the Missionaries of Charity, Cotolengo passes before my eyes, the Madrid centers for abandoned children, afternoons in India and in the Argentinian jungle, harassment of the poor in the street. It was always for You, Lord, to prove that I love you. Without you, human love and the service to the needy are mortal and finite. With you they are embelleshed and they become the wheel that turns the universe. So I look down the street in the Ethiopian features of these faces and I find you in their smiles of light, like rain in spring.
31 July 2015 In the mission I spent the morning with the babies. Selfishly, I have named Fraiser the most handsome, who tried with all his strength that I give him milk. In the class nextdoor, his mother and all the women are busy making pouches that then they sell to have their own money, money of their sewing, achieved with the work of their hands and not their bodies abused and sick. Then I fried forty eggs to eat because today the rest of the volunteers come, the ones who are coming by bus. Father just asked me to fry eggs and didn’t say the word “forty” until he came through the door. But Niki, the Filipino American helped me with everything. Andres came to the baby room to show me a dead rat that has appeared between our room and the storage room, while he held Sami in his other hand. I think I'll get used to this sort of thing pretty quickly. I have also been put in charge of the group of the older girls for the camp. Overall I think we have a hundred and twenty children and they are all Muslims. Despite the dryness and dust, I love the breeze of this site and then, on the other hand, when we have some free time, I like to look out the window and watch the clouds, this great golden sky and earth beneath it. 3 August 2015 All the volunteers and I are in a moment where doors open and you have to keep walking. In gatherings, after dinner or in the shelter of the rooms under the light of the lanterns, I get to know the lives of those who have come with me, their secrets, their preferences, what has hurt them the most, the friction between each other. I like to listen and I go counting, connecting pieces together. The more the human soul opens itself and the more you penetrate it, the deeper it becomes, like the depths of the ocean. 4 August 2015 Yesterday we saw the movie, "Desert Flower" after having been out watching the stars. The houses where we live are surrounded by trees and sometimes in the evening, we went down to river on the banks where Somali children bathe, and where the cows drink while women wash clothes. Someone, I think Gerdis, found fresh red flowers and placed them in the chapel next to the Eucharist, making me happy with this little detail. In the infirmary you see horrible things. Women without genitals, with the wound stitched with thorns, women suffer all kinds of infections and pain. Every sexual act here is a rape where the man looks for his wife like a hungry animal. Women are currency, a machine to produce babies. Practically all of my girls wear veils and I pray that does not mean that the already mutilated. How little they smile, how rarely do you hear them laugh except to make fun of someone. Move in me, Holy Spirit, feel welcomed in my home and stay here as long as you want, You who is the love of my soul and the fire burns in my spirit.
6 August 2015 Yesterday evening we returned to the roof of the jeep to smoke and watch the starry night, the Milky Way so close to our heads. At night someone must have died because Teresa and I listened to chants until dawn, drums and cries worthy of gypsy mourners of our land. I'm getting attached to the girls in my class although to my horror I cannot remember one of their names. They ask me to hide my braid under the veil "to be more beautiful" in the words of the translator, and want to know if the earrings I wear are eal jewels and I explained that they are as cheap as they carry. They want to know when I'm getting married, and the names of my parents. They do not understand why we came to be with them and become sad when I sit on the floor because I get full of dust. I just realized that until now I have not stopped to think about the fact that they are poor, poor in the third world. All this time I've been thinking of them as my sisters, my peers, and that is why I am so worried of the ignorance they have for lack of love. Also I start to sympathize with Liban, the 19 year-old translator who is the son of Gareth and dreams of changing the world. In the mission, the confidence and jokes increase with the August group, which initially were not as well integrated. These young Catholics, of whom I at first felt so distant and inferior because of the type of life I live, are much like me inside. They are full of passions, conflicts, doubts about their mission for Christ, fighting sin and for hope for when tomorrow comes. There I see myself reflected in the stories are telling me, and it strengthens the desire to put order inside me. I am happy in the mission, I do not lack anything or miss Spain. This is not a wasted minute of time, since we got up at five for adoration and laudes and celebrated Mass, even the cheerful breakfast and the beating of the camp. During the trips something something always happens, a child hanging from the car or we get a flat tire or get stuck in the mud. Teresa tries to wake me up at five every day and every day I stay in bed half an hour more and she gives up with me. Afterwards, during siesta we never sleep and at night and talk for hours. Being here in Ethiopia is like resurrecting yourself, to explore all of the things you thought were dead in you.