When I was preparing to take my first trip as a Cross Catholic staff writer, I expected to encounter poverty in developing nations. I did not immediately consider the joy that I would find thriving, even in the most challenging regions of the earth.
Six-year-old Mekdes Tesfaye, who suffers from cerebral palsy, takes joyful steps thanks to free therapy and an orthotic device provided through the Brothers of Good Works’ Community-Based Rehabilitation program in Addis Ababa.
Recently, when I was on a mission trip in Nicaragua, I was struck by how subdued all the little children were at each of my stops. I could certainly understand. After all, I would be intimidated if strangers walked into my village. But one would think you would still meet one or two outgoing kids. Not so in Nicaragua.
Sr. Marge loves to see little children enjoying their lunch at the Lady of the Star Nursery in the Philippines. These children come from extremely destitute families and begin preschool gravely malnourished. Throughout the year, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary not only provide early education and a hearty meal, but they also treat many of the children for TB.
There’s a long-running debate in the mission field about when to embrace local customs and when to resist them. How do we draw the line between mere cultural differences and a serious ethical rift?
Mother Candelaria, of the Servants of the Lord and of the Virgin of Matara (SSVM) helps care for children while they stay at one of two boarding homes run by priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE).