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Testimonies

A movie of a get-together

Vickie Amulega, mother of five, teacher/tutor and home-maker, Nairobi, Kenya

September 28, 2009

Tags: Little things, Family and work, Upbringing
It’s 6.35 p.m., I am walking home pondering what I should write. I reach the gate and as I am about to rummage in my bag for the key, it suddenly hits me – the laundry is still on the line.
Anyway I get into the house and I am longing to lie down a bit. I am just recovering from a bug, and therefore still feeling wobbly. The children are doing their homework. I shout, “Hi! Alvaro, please close the window.” I deposit my bag on my bed and take the vegetables I am carrying into the kitchen. I immediately wash my hands and start preparing the vegetables. “Who is going to the bathroom?”
“Me!” says Jose.
“Alvaro, have you bathed? Wow, look at that mess on the table! Clear it up! Gloria, draw the curtains.”
“Mum,” says Lisa, “the teacher gave us a Kiswahili paper for us to read to our parents.”
“Okay,” I reply. “Keep it, you will read it to Daddy.”

Bringing up a family is not always easy, but somehow coming into contact with the Work gives me a point of reference in the different things. “What does Saint Josemaria say about this?” A child bangs a door. I call him or her back – “Open the door and shut it softly, and say to Jesus, ‘I love you’.” Or a kid hurts himself and I tell him: “Offer this up to Jesus for…” That does not come from me – I dabbed it from the Founder of Opus Dei! “Put love into the little everyday things,” he used to say, and he encouraged us to discover “that divine something which is contained in the details”.

Eventually supper is ready, and the kids eat and say the Rosary. I decide to check on the kids’ uniforms for the next day. Jose’s shorts are ripped from end to end. I put them aside for mending – the pile gets bigger – and I think of the importance of something so trivial as looking for the correct color thread to mend a tear. And so many other details: I’m about to throw away a bit of paper, and then I think that the back of the paper could be used as rough paper… and so I discover what Christian poverty means. The list is endless.

My first encounter with Saint Josemaria was a movie of a get-together. I remember being struck by the cheerfulness, the big-heartedness, the humor. It has been his words, teachings and way of life that have actually molded my whole self, and, hopefully, eventually my family and many other people besides.