Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Tapestries of Kopanang

We are home today with ice on the roads, closing the schools. Last night Andreas made a harrowing trip back from Terre Haute in time to meet me at the Sounds of South Holiday Concert, where we heard Savannah sing with the choir. It was a wonderful show – there's nothing like being entertained by your children! They are sleeping soundly as I write, a luxury for teenagers on a weekday.

I continue to think about The Cosmic Walk, and was delighted when my mother sent over this message from Phebe Hanson. I was going to summarize it, but Phebe says it best:

Dear Joyce--I'm amazed that Ellen found that article in the League of Catholic Women newsletter and that the 80th birthday celebration was mentioned in an African [American] newsletter. I was at the World Aids Day meeting at the League of Catholic Women--maybe 2 years ago on December 1--and went several times to St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Mpls. to see that amazing tapestry exhibit. I called friends and family and ORDERED them to run not walk to see the exhibit. It was amazing! Only ran for a weekend here. Would love to see it again. Some of those women had never held a needle before they began on that project. An Irish nun [Sister Sheila Flynn] was responsible for its coming into being. She wanted the HIV women in her South African mission to have something of value to do. Pass this on to Ellen please. What is her email? Or would I find it on her blog. My eyesight is so bad these days I often miss little details. I have a chronic condition, one of the legacies of Wegener's Granulomatosis (first diagnosed in 1989), called "smoldering iritis." (Sounds like a romance novel!) Love, Phebe

I tracked down another article about The Cosmic Walk, from The Michigan Catholic, in the Archdiocese of Detroit, published in late November 2004. There is also a Word doc on-line that mentions:

Oprah Winfrey opened the Leadership School in Johannesburg for disadvantaged girls, fulfilling a promise she made to former President Nelson Mandela six years ago and giving more than 150 students a chance for a better future. Oprah has commissioned thirteen tapestries from Kopanang Art Project for the school. She said:-“Girls who are educated are less likely to get HIV/AIDS, and in this country which has such a pandemic, we have to begin to change the pandemic."

Kopanang means "gathering together" or "building bridges." This project connects to many of my interests: collaborative artworks, HIV/AIDS education (a project of my sister in Papua New Guinea), and now, to Phebe and poetry. I also love the easy acceptance of evolution as part of God's plan: no reducing the long cosmic walk to a literal interpretation of the Bible!

As for my email address: it can be found under "Contact" on my profile page. I love hearing from readers, and can also be found in facebook. And there is the trusty comments page, accessed by clicking on the word "comments" below each post.

It's all about gathering together, building bridges. And today, with the ice, about hunkering down indoors a little bit longer...

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