Search for the Grail

Gillian, Duke Divinity School student and 2009 Umoja Project intern

The grail I was searching for was not a golden chalice. It is rather a group of lay women in the Catholic church, who desire to serve the community in which they live. This past week I have been staying with a lady named Rosalia, who is a member of this grail society. She lives with three children she has adopted and another lady named Rose-Josephine who works at the community college at the grail center. Life here is different than with my first host family. Different, but good none-the-less. There is no electricity, and so the mornings start by lantern light. The roosters stay in the house at night, and because there are no ceilings over the rooms, their crows could be heard loud and clear beginning at 5:00 am. It would crow for about an hour and then I would get up and join the family for morning prayers at 6:00 am (pajamas, disheveled hair, and all). Shortly after that the children would be off to school, and we would have hot tea and pb&j for breakfast (a good comfort food). Then we would get ready to head out for our daily activities.

When we returned in the evenings we would sit around cooking and talking by lantern light, have evening prayer, eat together, and then clean together (when they would let me help). With such a late supper (around 9:30 pm) the day did not usually end until 10:30 or 11:00. Work, school, cooking, cleaning all have to be done. Rural life might be slow paced, but it is always moving and at the end of the day you find yourself tired.