A Beautiful Morning in Pommern

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received- only what you have given; a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Another beautiful morning in Pommern. The team met for breakfast and our morning meeting as usual. Edward delivered sad news that a senior member of the community had died the night before and the funeral would be held this afternoon. Everyone in the community will go to the burial to support the family and so will us Global Volunteers. When events like funerals occur everyone stops their regular work schedules to attend and so will we.

In the morning, we all went to our assigned duties; Eitan, Garza, and Carlos went to work at the water project platform construction site to move rocks for the 2 men working. Eric, Ryan and I went to the Secondary School for teaching. Ryan was assigned to English class. Eric and I went with Haran Ngede, the Second Headmaster, to teach a history review. After we returned for lunch, we all reported our experiences with our assignments.

After lunch, we walked to the cemetery where the burial will take place. A short time after our arrival at the cemetery, several trucks drove up with the coffin and the members of the community came walking into the cemetery. All gathered around the grave site. The women were sitting on other grave stones and the men were standing. The coffin was presented and placed into the hand dug grave of approximately 8 feet. Then the priest for the community’s Roman Catholic Church began praying over the grave with periodic responses from the community members. He then stepped aside and all the men took turns filling in the grave with dirt. They rotated so that many men participated while the choir sang several beautiful hymns with an Eastern African rhythm. Thereafter, the priest said some final prayers, sprinkled holy water over the grave and placed a large cross on the grave. The priest left the gathering and members of the community commented on the deceased man’s life. The service ended and everyone walked back to the village. Several members stayed assisting the new widow with her grief.

This was a moving experience for us to participate in as visitors. The attendance by the many community members shows the support and interdependence of the entire community. This ended the afternoon leaving us with lots to think about and ponder.

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