Autumn has officially arrived here in Pennsylvania. The leaves have started to turn color and are now beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The temperatures have started to drop and the days have gotten shorter. I have started to unpack sweaters and jackets, paid a visit to the pumpkin patch, and have been brainstorming Halloween costumes and treats. I have always loved this time of year and all of the fun and spooky festivities that accompany it. This love that I have for the Halloween season is why I was especially excited when I got to visit Africa and experience their traditions and celebrations!
Greetings and welcome back to Holly’s Headlines! I hope that everyone had a well-deserved, fun and relaxing summer. While everyone uses their downtime during the summer season differently, summertime for me is always used to play catch-up with long distance friends. Personally, I enjoy reaching out the “old fashioned way” – by handwriting a letter. While writing these letters this summer to my old friends, I found myself thinking about my African pen pal named Lilian. Throughout my years working in Africa I have met hundreds of children of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve encountered children who were healthy, children who were sickly and starving, children with families, and children who were orphaned. My encounters with all of these children brought me equal amounts of joy. However, there was one little girl in particular that really stuck out in the crowd.
Summer is in full swing in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The sweltering heat from the sun is radiating down onto the concrete causing illusions of wavering images as it reflects off the street. I recently noticed, as I was leaving my parish's rectory, that this heat was causing the energy and excitement that filled the children who were participating in Vacation Bible School to decrease. With their outdoor activities being limited due to the muggy conditions, the children were being sent indoors to continue their activities in an air conditioned gym. While observing the children out on the school playground in the summer heat, getting tired and looking for someplace cooler or a drink of water, my mind flashed back to a time when I was in Nigeria and was given the opportunity to participate in a Vacation Bible School session. This session was being held in a village, located in Igbo land, in the southern part of Nigeria.