While considering some newsworthy item on which to report as I send on Easter greetings from the trustees of NCCF to all of you I was struck by an analogy offered by the work of that wonderful order of nuns, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (www.sndden.org).
Two years ago, this column brought your attention to their African Photovoltaic Project, an initiative launched by them ten years ago in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Initially designed to provide access to electricity in remote village areas for education resources for teachers and students and healthcare cyber connections for doctors and nurses, the program – now functioning in six locations and about to expand to another seven – has grown into full-fledged collaborative development and in each community where it operates stability and sustainability are now realities.
Recognizing the immediate and the collateral capabilities which result from converting sunlight into electricity, everyone in any one of these locales involved in the project, at any level, wants to participate in the unfolding promise of development. These include:
- donors and technical experts in the United States who understand the potential;
- the nuns in the villages who master the engineering and technical skills;
- village men and women now acquiring managerial skills;
- local medical and teaching staff who can suddenly communicate with the world via the internet;
- students who have access to cyber libraries;
- truck drivers who proudly deliver the equipment and the laborers who cheerfully install it;
- local leaders interested in pumping clean water;
- and nearby village communities waiting to learn and implement the project .
For those of us who have never known a world without electric power, it is hard to envision the liberating transformation this African Photovoltaic Project of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur brings these once desperate communities. And, like the stone in the stone soup legend, it all starts with one gratuitous gift from God, sunlight.
God’s grace is such a gift. When we accept it and allow it to awaken in us our own gifts, we, like these wonderful daughters of Saint Julie Brilliart, will contribute to that liberating transformation that comes with the advance of the Kingdom.
A joyous Eastertide to everyone!