Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Eats in Bolivia

Submitted by: Clare Lassiter, Franciscan Mission Service missioner, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Bolivia is a unique country in that everyone here loves to eat. While walking the streets of Cochabamba, one can smell many delicious foods being cooked. The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts from pastry shops, inviting passers by to stop and purchase bread even if when they don't need it! In the early morning there is also the smell of Api and pastel. Api is a thick, hot drink made from fermented corn. As the api is cooking, cinnamon sticks and sugar are added. Pastel is fried dough with melted cheese in the middle, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Then there is the Saltena, which makes me hungry every time that I pass by. It is a pot pie in your hand! Saltena is a sweet corn crust made with a spicy juice, chicken, green peas, potatoes, egg, and an olive. If you take a huge bite of Saltena, the juice will start coming out and there is no way to stop it. However, if you take little nibbles and suck the juice out, then you savor the taste. All of these smells cause an incredible hunger that is hard to tame.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Too Blessed to be Stressed

By Jamarl D. Clark, AEAP Assistant Coordinator

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5 is a scripture that is familiar to many, one that expresses how we, as human-beings, should never be because we should put all our trust into a higher power. Unfortunately, when it comes to stress, many of us forget this useful scripture.

According to the Medical Review Board; stress is the body's reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.  One would imagine that “stress” brings discourse and conflict with one’s spirituality.

On the contrary, spirituality can be used as a stress reliever. How so? First, you must define your spirituality in order to combat stress. Spirituality has many definitions; it can be religious observance, prayer, meditation or a belief in a higher power. According to the Mayo Clinic, your spirituality is a connection with yourself and with others, the development of your personal value system, and your search for meaning in life. For others, it can be found in nature, music, art or a service community.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alumni Talk: Staying Connected

By Catherine Drennan, former Christian Brothers Lay Volunteer Program volunteer and Catholic Volunteer Network Recruiter

Christian Appalachian Project
Throughout your year of service, it’s impossible not to have continual communication with your community members, especially when you’re living in the same place and serving and learning together. Now that you’ve spent months getting to know a group of people, you may find that you don’t know how to live without them! Once the service experience ends, how do you maintain that connection and stay in touch with each other?  Here are a few techniques I have found helpful in the recent months.

After college I served in the Christian Brothers Lay Volunteer Program in New Orleans, LA and worked for a rebuilding organization, Operation Helping Hands, a program of Catholic Charities. During that time I lived with three Christian Brothers and two other volunteers, while also working with many other volunteers my age. After my service year ended, I began working as the Recruitment Associate for Catholic Volunteer Network. This was a wonderful opportunity to travel the country and speak to others about my own service experience as well as all of the opportunities available with Catholic Volunteer Network programs. Speaking about my service experiences helped me remember the people I met and the friends I made while in New Orleans.