The sight of the massive surge of sand across the Sahara which I viewed from the window of the plane on my first trip to Africa in 2008 was a fearsome one. It must have covered hundreds of square miles of the continent. A tsumani of sand the color of ochre blotted out every other color and contour. I thought at the time that I would never want to be folded up in that gritty breath-stealing cloud. So much power over such a vast space!
Now, during Lent, as I remember this storm, I recall the tiny sand storm we had in Narus after school one day. I went into a classroom for shelter. I thought I'd be safer - NOT! There was no difference between millions of grains of sand and dust outdoors and the hundreds of thousands of the same inside. It got into every thing filling my eyes, ears, nose and hair. Eastern Equitorial Africa is not the Sinai or Arabian Peninsulas but it can be as brutal. The thought of how extreme the weather is fills me with admiration for the physical and spiritual stamina that those who work with the girls at St. Bakhita's and in the clinics possess. Here in America I feel caught up in what can be the soul-stealing lures of an affluent country - one that offers whatever one wants and dictates one's needs.
Let us pray, not only for the work being done in South Sudan by those working there but especially for the children and women who strain to get their basic needs for food, shelter and water met each day.