CAN WE ALSO NURTURE NATURE?
Feeling welcome by your new country makes the move, including the one away from home, easier. However, we can be shocked and think that some things are done unjustly. Sr. Monicah was a Kenyan from Machakos region, and since my encounter with her, I came to know her as someone who loved animals and nature besides human beings. She had compassion for them and took time to nurture them. Her family had goats and she loved grazing them.
Following her dream to become a religious of the Sacred Heart, Monicah was sent to Uganda to begin her religious life. She began this journey in Kalungu community and during her stay, one day we went for a walk. As we walked, she noticed the goats that were tied on ropes. Ooooooooh!!! strongly disapproving what she had seen. She was so perturbed, and before I knew it, she had untied the goats to let them free. I held my hands on the head, and said, Monicah, Monicah, Monicah, what have you done??? We are in trouble now!!!. The owners are going to be upset. The goats are going to eat people’s food in the gardens. She replied, “This is not just, to tie them on ropes and leave them in one place, Poor goats.” At this point, tears stood in her eyes. She was too upset. I tried to explain why they are tied, but my explanations did not make any sense to her. I knew this was due to differences in Cultures. In the central, most people carry out zero-grazing due to limited land. You find goats or cows or pigs tied on ropes so that they do not destroy the neighbours’ crops, and this helps to keep peace and unity.
It took her time to get used to the unjust situation of tying animals on ropes, but with time she understood. She really had a big heart for creation and the environment. When I heard that she had joined Laudato Si and Global Catholic Climate Movement, I was not surprised because she had great passion for mother earth, and was also concerned about the poor. She could not stand any unjust situation.
In our situation, I thanked God that the owners of the goats were not furious with us. They really understood when I explained to them that she comes from a different culture where animals are free to graze in fields. Gladly, they understood but they had to tether them again in order not to be in trouble with the neighbours.
Mother Earth appreciates you, for all that you did, and may the Lord grant you eternal rest.
Susan Nankya rscj