This year I was invited to participate in a theatre performance called "The Mother of All Mothers". The performers were extremely talented women bringing laughter to those in attendance. It was delightful, heart-wrenching, and pee your pants funny. It was so much fun and I was able to bond with the amazing performers and with the generous and heart open audience. My contribution was to talk about how we can take our mothering energy out into the world in the hopes of supporting those who have less to make their lives a little bit better. It was an amazing opportunity to bring awareness to the Tchukudu Women’s Training Centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the women I am working with there.
At the same time, the experience was surreal. There I was all dressed up, amidst very funny female performers, in the John Candy Theatre in Toronto, talking about the Congolese women I know and work with. Women who often go without food in order to feed their children first. Some of them wake up every day and struggle to find the money to buy their medications and then cannot take that precious medication because their stomachs are empty. They work very hard to sew beautiful garments to sell in their communities. They struggle to find the money to send some, usually not all, of their children to school.
The disparity between the two scenarios feels gut-wrenching to me, and then I realize the disparity is not between the scenarios but rather it is inside of myself. I have been travelling to the DRCongo for over four years now and it is still incomprehensible to me to see the inequality on our planet. I wonder, if each of us took just 5 minutes a day to imagine the lives of women living in DRCongo, how our world might change. What action might we be called to push forth? Could we find a balance in a world that is so abundant, and a generosity where all people have enough in terms of food, health, education and peace?
Hope lives in me in a big way when I think about my friends, my family, and the many generous loving people I am privileged to know across the planet. I think about the women I have met in Tanzania and in the DRCongo. I think about the strength, hope, compassion, and vulnerability of all women and all men. I think about sexual violence in conflict and poverty and hunger AND I think about love and health and peace and education. I believe in my heart that we have it in us to move quickly and directly toward love and compassion and peace as the way forward...
Something has cracked wide open in me and my greatest desire is that it is cracking open in all of us - so much so that we are brought to our knees and from there we find the way together.
Cathy has been travelling to Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania since 2009, leading medical outreach caravans with Canada Africa Community Health Alliance. In February 2014, she visited a group of women in Democratic Republic of Congo and began working with the local people to build and then operate the Tchukudu Women’s Training Centre. Here the women learn skills to start their own businesses and support their families. Skills in sewing, basket weaving, tie dyeing, and business training. This project has been made possible through the generosity of so many individuals and businesses – too many to name. Cathy’s most recent visit resulted in the building of a retail sales store where the women will sell their beautifully made garments, and the purchase of agricultural land to grow food for the women and their families.