Q:I am a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer. I am working to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals in the Dominican Republic. I specifically work on the three health-related MDG’s.
I was listening to the interview with Yossi Klein Halevi and was touched by his retelling of the story of Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in 1977. Like the attainment of peace in the Middle East, the Millennium Development Goals seem like a beautiful dream that is unlikely to come true, at least in the case of the Dominican Republic. I wanted to thank Yossi Klein Halevi for reminding us about joyful twists in the story of almost “messianic impossibility.” Religion at its best can motivate to keep working towards the attainment of beautiful goals even though they seem impossible.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Thank you for the kind words, Jonathan. A story like the late Anwar Sadat visiting Israel is one of those miraculous moments that we ought to hold on to and remember when we start to despair. I will forward on your message and thank you for the work you are doing.
I’ll admit that I have a basic news knowledge of the Dominican Republic but an insufficient understanding of the history of the country — and the island for that matter. Henry Louis Gates’ most recent series on PBS, Black in Latin America, opened my eyes to the backdrop to some of these intractable issues that challenge the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. But, the hour also was a heart-warming reminder about the vibrancy, pride, and rich culture of the people living on the island.
—Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Stories from Google Alert: Kaye in Lesotho
Trent Gilliss, online editor
A few days ago, a “Speaking of Faith” Google alert highlighted Kaye Thompson’s blog entry about her first year in Lesotho, Africa. Her reflections on serving in the Peace Corps is refreshing, honest, and vulnerable. I appreciate that. And, I found her description of cooperation among medical professionals and local healers hopeful and inspiring:
I helped my clinic sponsor a day- long meeting between the traditional healers of the area (35 came) and the clinic staff. Because the head of the clinic is a wise and open-minded nurse, she stayed out of any judgment towards the healers and honest sharing was encouraged. The healers come from a variety of traditions to include intuitive healers, those that speak with the ancestors, those that have apprenticeships with other healers, and those that go to a program to receive more formalized training. They work with dreams, herbs, spirits and prayers. Unfortunately some of the practices are harmful and impede healing with Western medecines. The healers spoke of their feelings of being marginalized by the medical community, their belief that they can cure AIDS, their wish to be able to work more collaboratively with the clinic, and an overall sense of relief that these two communities were finally in dialogue. It was a huge success with hopes for a repeat in the future.
I want to find out who I am and to live it in the service of the world.