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As a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Kenya, one of the biggest frustrations as a lay woman is the constant harassment of men as I walk to and from work or use public transportation. To live out our Christian values takes a lot of creativity and patience sometimes. Now in my second contract, I would prefer not to allow the anger and frustration of these experience take over my day or attitude so I had been praying for creative nonviolent responses to rude and vulgar greetings and comments.
In Mombasa a common greeting to other Catholics is “Tumsifu Yesu Kristu” (Praise to Jesus Christ) and the common response is “Milele na milele amina” (forever and ever Amen).  So on my way to work one day I received a typical rude greeting from one of the motorcycle drivers sitting on the side of the road. Instead of ignoring the comment I smiled as best I could and shouted “Tumsifu Yesu Kristu.”  He paused a minute (I think confused) and then responded with a smile “Aleluia!”  So that day instead of brewing over the daily frustration, I laughed and realized creativity and prayer together can help us find another way. This was ministry to self and ministry to other wrapped up in one creative greeting.

Erik Cambier
Erik Cambier served as Maryknoll lay missioner for 25 years, in Tanzania, the United States, Venezuela and El Salvador.