The “Joy of Africa”
At North Seattle Friends we’ve learned that doing what you love—with passion and blessing—is a great way to show the world who God is (see 1Corinthians 12:7). One of our biggest passions at NSFC is quilt making.
In our Peace Through Pieces Quilting Ministry we work with Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services of Burundi (www.THARS.org) to use quilt making as trauma healing for women who are victims of torture and sexual violence in central Africa. While this has been a blessing for many of the women we’ve worked with in Burundi and Congo, it has also been a blessing for us and taught us many things. Here is a story of one of the lessons we’ve learned.
This lesson is about joy. A recent workshop was held at the Friends Peace Center near Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Conditions in Congo continue to be appalling. Deaths from violence, hunger, and disease are expected to exceed six million. Incidents of rape and sexual torture of women exceed 100,000. And yet, among these Friends women, many of whom are victims of this outrage, there was great joy. Joy in learning a new skill. Joy in making something beautiful. Joy in the gathering of women together, with outbreaks of singing and dancing several times a day. One THARS staff member in Bujumbura, Burundi, on hearing the stories of joy, said, “Oh, yes, the Congolese. They are known as the ‘Joy of Africa.’”
I have so much to learn from this kind of joy. Obviously it does not come from circumstances, or from comfort, or from security. I am making it a new goal to become known as the “joy of Seattle.”
Contributed by Patty Federighi, North Seattle Friends