Monday, February 14, 2011

Writing for Church World Service

Eastern Africa Review

Since I started working for Church World Service in September, I have done many writing, video, and photo projects, but the one that sums up most of the work I have been doing is the biannual newsletter that CWSEA sends out to its partner organizations and donors.  I hope you can take some time to read about the people I have been working with here!  I have traveled to Tanzania, Rwanda, and all over Kenya to talk with the people who implement CWSEA programs and the beneficiaries.  I try to focus on understanding the experiences of people I meet.  Interpreting commentary from people that see you as a "donor" or a rich white person and speak in a language you don't understand leaves a lot of room for false impressions.  I think I need several more years working with each organization I have met in order to really understand the thoughts of the people involved.  Even so, communication can often be beyond words.  Just the smiles, stares, tears, and hugs shared can give you much more information than an hour of conversation. 

My fellow YAV, Grace, explained very well the reason why both she and I haven't written any blogs in the last few months.  I finally feel at home here in Kenya and have found people to share my stories with here.  I often think about things I want to tell friends like you (where ever you are), but life has become very busy!  My sister Katie and friend Paige came to visit from Chicago in January and we all were able to reflect on our own lives quite a bit.  We visited CWSEA programs and many of the friends I have made around the country.  I tortured them with many long bus rides and over-packed schedules!  Somehow we found a lot of time to talk.
"Lions! Ahh!"  Katie: "I think we should go."
Upon reflection of my life in Kenya, my aspirations, and other thoughts I found our conversations pulling me to the conclusion that I should be learning more about Theology and the church and going to seminary to solidify my ideas about community development, environmental stewardship, and interfaith partnership.  Since Katie and Paige are both ordained pastors, I wanted to make sure I wasn't just reacting to their coolness and jumping on the seminary band wagon.  After a month of thought and prayer and applications to seminary, it seems like I really want to go!

I have applied to Princeton, Union in NYC, and McCormick in Chicago.  I am not sure where I will end up, which is a huge turn from my original plans to go back to Indianapolis to start working for Urban Mountain Farms.  I still feel called to working in community development and staying involved in Urban Mountain Farms,  but I have put a lot of value on developing my personal theology to lead the work that I will do in the future.  I think God has been trying to get me to apply to seminary for almost a year now, but I have consistently ran from the idea until now.  I am excited for this new opportunity to return to the classroom and really challenge and solidify my ideas.  You can also read my seminary application essay if you want to know more about why I am going.

Let me know what you think about the articles I wrote for the EA Review!  It would be great to hear how you are doing.  Peace and Love.