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“This is my covenant with you.” —Gen. 17:4

Monday, May 19

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Malawi, continued

Today Pulicila came over, as she often does, to play in my yard, and I saw that the tip of her left big toe had been badly torn. “Oooh!” I say. “Ouch!” She points over the fence. It happened somewhere over there, but that’s all I know. I look again at her toe. It doesn’t look like it would require stitches, but it’s close to that point. Certainly it would be helped by a butterfly closure. I ask, “Can I help?” and she nods.

Returning with my first-aid kit, I smear ointment in the wound and affix an adhesive bandage to hold the torn flap back in place, wrapping another around the toe to hold the first bandage in place, since she wears no shoes.

She seems so surprised by the bandage; I think it’s the first time she’s seen one. Only then did I realize that not every mother has adhesive bandages and antibiotic ointment for cuts, or shoes for her children’s feet that would prevent such cuts in the first place. It’s then, too, that I realize how garish the bandage looks against her 80-percent-cocoa skin; it may as well be hunter’s orange. It wasn’t made with her skin tone in mind.

How is it that, before today, I never realized that sometimes wealth means shoes and a first-aid kit while poverty means a preventable but present wound that’s easily treatable but untreated? I put away the antibiotic ointment, toss away the sterile bandage wrappers, wash my hands, and shake my head. I can’t unravel my tangled thoughts: guilt, gratitude, sadness, anger. One thought emerges, and I realize with a start that it’s a remarkably concise metaphor for so much of the injustice and inequality and, yes, racism that’s still with us, all over and everywhere: adhesive bandages are made for white people.


Rachel Stone, PC(USA) mission coworker, Zomba

Let us join in prayer for:


Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) General Assembly: Mr. W. Kafumbi Njewa, caretaker • CCAP Blantyre Synod: Rev. Mercy Chilapula, moderator, Rev. Alex Maulana, general secretary, Rev. Cliff Nyekanyeka, deputy general secretary • CCAP Synod of Livingstonia: Rev. Dr. Timothy Nyasula, moderator, Rev. Levi N. Nyondo, general secretary, Rev. Joseph P. V. Mwale, deputy general secretary • CCAP Nkhoma Synod: Rev. Vasco Kachipapa Banda, moderator, Rev. Davidson K. Chifungo, general secretary, Rev. Steven P. G. Chirwa, deputy general secretary • Ekwendeni, Embangweni, David Gordon, Mulanje, and Nkhoma hospitals • Malawi Council of Churches: Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe, general secretary • Zomba Theological College: Rev. Leonard C. W. Katundu, principal, Rev. Daniel Gunya, vice principal, Rev. Gertrude A. Kapuma, dean of studies

Presbytery Partnerships

Presbyteries of East Iowa, Eastern Oklahoma, Northern New York and Olympia, with CCAP Synod of Livingstonia; Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery, with Domasi Presbytery; Presbytery of Western North Carolina, with CCAP Nkhoma Synod; Presbyteries of Missouri River Valley and Pittsburgh, with CCAP Blantyre Synod

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Gil Herbig, PMA

Let us pray

God, you love to bind up wounds of injustice. Grant that we might participate in healing the separation between those who have more than enough and those who suffer from lack. Help us to be the hands and feet of Christ for healing and for justice. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 97; 145
First Reading Leviticus 16:1-19
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Gospel Reading Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Evening Psalms 124; 115

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