May Just Posts: Ga Gona Mathata

A few Just Posts ago I posted a note from our dear friend Carmen, who recently began her job with the Peace Corps in South Africa.  Earlier this week I spoke to Carmen via chat — our first “live” conversation in 6 months. We talked through some ideas, challenges, and experiences. Not necessarily all connected to her current situation, but about the characteristics of “the work” in general. The realities of rural poverty. Being aware and at times surrounded by gross inequalities. The struggle of whether a problem is local or regional or national or global… and what it means to work at each level. Many of us involved in poverty work are called to it from a deep seated mission of social justice — yet are often asked or forced to work in ways that can codify or sustain the systems that create the inequalities we would like to address. There is a lot to struggle with, personally and professionally. There is always so much need and the desire to help, to give, to serve… it can get overwhelming. I want to find ways to help her and her new home; making the world a little smaller through our connections and friendships and trust in each other just feels like the right thing to do.

Here is some exciting news!  Carmen has started a blog. Right now it’s a place of photographs and brief descriptions.  Her emails reflect the richness of her experience and the tremendous need she encounters each day in her work. I’m hoping to write more about her work on THIS blog, and link to it in THIS space… and hopefully, maybe, possibly… get some ideas, suggestions, and contributions to her work from the wonderful readers and writers who participate in the Just Post social justice round table.

As for Ga Gona Mathata?  It means no worries*.

The Just Posts Roundtable for May 2009:

May Readers:

Please send love to Alejna, who has great music to go along with your JP reading.

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* Well, according to Carmen: “literally it means ‘there are no problems’, but it does also mean ‘no worries.’  Setswana – along with Sepedi and Swahili, among others – are in the Bantu language family, and they all share similar sayings, made famous by a certain Disney movie.”