Mbuji Mayi

Reflections during the adult literacy teacher training in Mbuji Mayi, DR Congo, April 2–8, 2018

Here is how you get your baggage at Mbuji Mayi. Passengers and guys whom you can hire to retrieve baggage crowd on one side of a low platform and the baggage is carried in through a door on the other side and stacked in a holding area while an agent examines each tag and calls a name. Or number. I can’t get close enough to tell. Continue reading

Food and creed on a snowy day

IMG_1088I keep thinking I want to write something profound, theological almost, but I am not up to it. Instead I meditate. 45 minutes this morning, no problem. And I think about diet and plan carefully for a food-shopping excursion during a brief break in the frigid, snowy weather. It wasn’t really a break but Vic had to go out for a doctor’s appointment so I went along and went around the corner to the supermarket and bought at least 10 meals worth of vegan food. Beans and more beans, greens and more greens. Continue reading

Gap weeks

Gap years are the thing. My great-nephew hasn’t figured out whether he wants to do political science or biology in college, though he knows which college he’ll attend and has already been accepted. So he’s taking a year to work and figure that out. It seems that for an 18-year-old he has figured out a lot already and a gap year is a sensible part of the plan. Continue reading

Mushrooms and kindness

IMG_3613It is morel season in Southwest Michigan. We have sometimes found these delicacies in our five acres of woods but not for the past several years, even in the spots where they had appeared before. You never know where they’re going to pop up. I found two big ones by the side of the road the other day when I was picking up trash. I washed them thoroughly and sautéed them in butter with asparagus. Yum. But we haven’t been persistent about combing every inch of our own woods for morels. Continue reading

Color tour

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This trip happened because of a fight. I thought my husband had agreed to meet me in North Carolina next month after my week of Wisdom School with Cynthia Bourgeault. We could do the B&B thing, I could share all my newly acquired wisdom with him, yada yada. Belatedly he happened to remember that he had a choir concert on the aforeplanned weekend. For some reason I took this to mean that I did not come first in his life. We fought. Or rather, I blew up and he looked puzzled. Continue reading

Meditation on a cupcake

IMG_1518I don’t eat cake. Even in the dream I had yesterday, in which a whole banquet of desserts was offered to me, my thought was, “I don’t eat cake.” Nevertheless, in the dream, I headed straight for the cake. A rainbow ice cream cake and a chocolate cake. I chose both. I woke up before I was able to taste them. Continue reading

Playing the body numbers

I would really like to think that we can avoid the American scourges of heart disease and diabetes, if not cancer, by leading a healthy lifestyle. And I would really like to stay away from the complicating medications meant to treat them.

Thus, it was only reluctantly, after years of futilely trying to get my cholesterol numbers down with diet and supplements, that I agreed to start taking a statin. My husband is holding out against medication for himself, choosing to believe those who say cholesterol numbers aren’t all that important. Which of us will live longer? I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Continue reading

Perfect potato salad

I have tried many times throughout my life as an adult cook to replicate the big picnic comfort food of my childhood but I never came close. As far as I can remember all my mother ever did was toss potatoes, chopped celery, and hardboiled eggs with lots of Miracle Whip. I tried that once and hated it. I learned that ever since I tasted real mayonnaise and even sometimes made my own, I cannot stand the sweet/harsh acid taste of Miracle Whip. Continue reading

High priest of chocolate

Chocolate holy man Eladio Pop shows off a prize cacao tree to tourists.

Chocolate holy man Eladio Pop shows off a prize cacao tree to tourists.

The cacao farm was not our first choice for an excursion but Ian, our host at Hickatee Cottages in Punta Gorda, Belize, brought it up a few times on the evening we arrived, as we were planning our activities for the next three days, and so I finally asked him exactly what tours he recommended. He quickly said, “The cacao farm, Blue Creek Cave, the Mayan ruins of Lubaantum, and Rio Bianco waterfall. You can do all that in two days and I’ll get you the best guide. Then you can take a day to explore Punta Gorda itself.” Continue reading

Holy Communion at the Hibachi

“I guess this is our secret vice,” I said to my husband over our after-church lunch. “We’d never invite our friends to join us here, would we?” He chuckled and glanced at the not-too-clean couple at the table next to us, then down at his plate piled high with samplings from the bounteous buffet of the Hibachi Grill.

It is possible to eat healthy at Hibachi if you choose carefully. But we don’t always. And it is not the nice array of fruit right out front that draws the clientele of the Hibachi Grill, or even the to-order stirfrys in the back, which give the place its name. It is the price–$4.99 for seniors like us, $5.99 for other adults, $2.99 for kids for all you can eat of a hodgepodge array of vaguely Chinese/Japanese/American foods guaranteed to fill you up. Continue reading