Oblate Voices is a JPIC blog that follows stories of hope and is about how Oblates and associates live and experience mission work in the spirit of the Oblate founder, St Eugene De Mazenod of responding to the needs of poor and most abandoned around the world.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Missionary Oblates in Cameroon: Ministry with Poor War Refugees

 Share The Journey Campaign series  

Pope Francis’ global migration campaign “Share the Journey Campaign starts September 27th. Joined by Bishops around the world, the campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding of the global migrant issue and an opportunity to come together to promote a culture of encounter to strengthen the relationships between migrants, refuges and host communities.

 As part of this campaign, here is a testimony by Missionary Oblates who are serving and having an impact of action and witness by accompanying migrants and refugees.
Br  Ernest Mbemba OMI-  picture courtesy  of  OMI World 
In Cameroon, Missionary Oblate, Brother Ernest Mbemba OMI describes the  ministry with poor war refugees.  The following is a recent testimonial from Missionary Oblate Brother Mbemba OMI:

It is this community of displaced people that I visit once a month, to share their difficulties, to ensure a comforting presence and together to find solutions to improve their living conditions as war refugees. It is a community that lacks everything: school, a health center, arable land, drinking water. In addition, many of its members do not have official documents (birth certificates and a national identity card). I have already made several approaches to the traditional, the administrative and the municipal authorities of Lagdo (80 km from Pikba village), the district on which Pikba depends for all these problems; for some of them, we are beginning to find solutions. ……For water, the refugees get their supply in ponds where they compete with the domestic animals. Consequently, there are many water-borne diseases. The refugees want to have wells that do not require maintenance other than drilling.” 

You can help your community, parish, diocese to participate in the “Share the Journey” campaign along withPope Francis.  Through your prayers and acts of compassion, you too can help shape response, conversations and actions to answer the Gospel call to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Gail Taylor of 3-Part Harmony Farm Reflects on Summer's Successful Harvest

That was summer?
It's amazing that even though we plant almost the same thing each year, the results are always different. Some summer harvest highlights:

We began our jalapeƱo harvest last week: 20 pounds! 
Sweet potato greens are back! A few years ago we had too many, we almost couldn't close the car door after one particularly glorious harvest. I think I was scared for awhile that there would be a riot in the CSA, so we took a break. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and certainly we all have been enjoying these greens! I daresay we've all forgotten that infamous year when we ate too many?

Another surprise: the abundant bunching onions. I was afraid that we'd lost some trays in the early spring when the temps went down again, so I re-seeded more and we ended up with the best harvest ever! Of course, too much of a good thing is still too much, and I know everyone on the harvest team is glad to know that this is our last week of the spring onions until late fall.

Green tomatoes: those bobcats did not let us down. We harvested some great green tomatoes this summer for frying, making pies, making salsa.

That was summer?
This summer was incredibly fast, and not too hot and humid considering what we had prepared for at the farm. Normally it is too unbearable to work past noon in the summer, so we cut the work day in half and try to do as many early mornings as possible. While we're at it, everyone on the crew takes some time away, and the farm rests as well. Currently almost half of our beds are in a summer cover crop mix.

I would have thought, looking at the calendar, that July and August promised abundant free afternoons to catch up on work in the office and maybe even have some free time? Alas, somehow the time went faster than the blink of an eye. Or I made a list too long? Probably a combination of both.

In any event, this week marks a chance to get an early start on the fall planting and we certainly aren't going to miss a chance for that. It seems incredibly auspicious to plant in the shadow of the moon.

As the farm looks ahead to fall, there are a few highlights:

The CSA (community supported agriculture) picks up again after Labor Day, with a new fall session. Each week, members receive 6 items (a single size share) or 12 items (a family size share. The multi-farm CSA typically has vegetables, herbs and flowers from Three Part Harmony Farm along with eggs and produce from Rainbow Hill Farm, fruit from Kuhn's Orchard, and medicinal herbs from Little Red Bird Botanicals. We feature additional produce from partner farms. 

If you are local to D.C., sign up here or contact me if you have questions.

Volunteer at the farm, on Fridays or Saturdays
Beginning on September 8th, we'll open up volunteer slots again between 9 and 1 on Fridays and Saturdays. RSVP at least 48 hours in advance by email, or calling. To sign up for our work exchange program, please email me and I'll send additional info. The work exchange is three hours of work and you harvest your own vegetables, up to a family size share each time you come. Work shares can come during the Friday and Saturday volunteer hours, or schedule on additional days including our Wednesday harvest day.

Annual Fall Festival
Yes, the end of summer means it is time to organize the annual fall festival. This event is held on a saturday in late october or early november. This is a potluck affair with music, games, community, art, and of course garlic planting. The fall festival is a time to celebrate the season, and celebrate the community surrounding the farm. I hope all volunteers, CSA members, Brookland (NE Washington, DC) residents, family and friends will come out! If you have ideas or want to get involved in the planning, please let me know.