In the Bolivian province of Cochabamba, farmers’ fields lie high up on the Andes mountain slopes. The incline on these slopes is so steep it’s difficult to imagine farmers planting, weeding and harvesting.
For generations, though, farmers have relied on what they can dig out of these fields to sustain their families. Traditionally, that’s meant potatoes, but the potato crop does not sell for enough money to support their families.
With support from MCC, a local social development organization is training farmers to grow maca, a crop which can currently sell for four times more than potatoes. Maca is a root crop native to the region and, unlike potatoes, can withstand frosts at the high altitudes in the Andes. Once harvested, the maca root is dried and often ground into powder or flour. It may be used locally but is often exported to Canada and the U.S., where maca is sold as a nutritional supplement.
Training and start-up seeds are provided to 15 different farming communities in the area. In addition, MCC money helps farmers form producer associations and negotiate contracts with buyers who will process the maca to sell or export. Eventually, farmers hope to create their own maca processing facility in the mountains.
All these pieces work together to help farmers support their families. The extra income not only increases food security, but also access to the market, education, and health services.
As MCC country reps in Bolivia, Steve and Janet Plenert help support and administer the maca project.
Aria da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay is one of my favourite plays. When the Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre board forced me to try my hand at directing (and I do mean forced), it did not take me long to choose this play for Remembrance Day weekend. I love absurdist theatre and its capacity to simultaneously entertain the eye, delight the ear, and stimulate the intellect. Millay is a master of symbolic language and use of tradition with a twist.
The sophistication of Pierrot, wedded to his cynicism, offers a compelling view of a clever socialite overwhelmed with appetites. He is a man who has everything but holds nothing of substance, except his deep longing for that which he knows not how to pursue -- let alone hold. His character parodies how we feel in the lonely moments of our existence, when the pursuit is everything (we think), and in the end we are not even sure we want anything at all. We may, all of us, be “tired of the moon.”
Columbine offers us delightful diversion with her own yearning for affection and belonging; she is never quite settled enough to obtain the satisfaction of truly being at peace. She wants to be noticed and yet notices nothing of substance which could give her a secure foundation. We catch a glimmer of her true self (and perhaps ours) in the line, “Isn’t there something else….some humble vegetable that grows in the ground?” but this knowledge quickly dissipates in her self-absorption.
The shepherds Thyrsis and Corydon are perhaps too grounded and earnest in their innocence. They are caught in a play not of their scripting (as Cothurnus conscripts them into a tragedy) yet it is of their making. The violent gamesmanship of war, whose magnitude and chaos consume the most fundamental elements of our humanity, damages everyone and strips even the farce of its comedic properties.
Life is indeed absurd. Allow your mind and spirit wander the thin line between farce and tragedy, peace and war, love and hate, hope and despair.
-Terry Zimmerly, director
Editor's Note: Aria da Capo is playing November 11-13 at Le Cercle Moliere.
God is God; he has bathed us in light. Festoon the shrine with garlands, hang colored banners above the altar! You’re my God, and I thank you. Psalm 118 :27-28a (The Message)
• To enhance worship through visual means.
• To provide opportunity for people in the congregation to offer their talents in visual arts expression.
• To build practical hardware systems which allow artwork to be more easily displayed, changed and/or rotated.
Circulating and changing visuals on a regular basis makes people more conscious of them. The hardware that has been installed seeks to be as unobtrusive and uninvasive as possible, i.e. not distracting from the art itself or doing damage to the building.
A NEW BANNER-HANGING SYSTEM:
A simple pulley system has been designed and installed for three locations in the sanctuary. Similar systems will be installed in a couple of other locations in the church basement. This allows varying lengths of banners to hang at different levels, and addresses the ongoing challenge of placing banners in hard-to-reach places. The system is practical and relatively inexpensive, considering this is a long-term wall-hanging solution which will hopefully serve the congregation for many years. It allows one person to hang and remove banners easily without risk of injury on ladders or via other awkward methods. The front left banner above the church office door can be lowered to expose the wall for audio-visual projection. (Although this is a workable solution for current AV projection needs, perhaps the congregation could consider investing in an actual projection screen which would automatically lower and raise a centre-positioned screen from the ceiling in front of the organ. This would offer further visual communication opportunities, as well as reduce wear and tear on that particular pulley unit.)
The main entrance to HSMC is a place to welcome people. On the right is a bulletin board, with clear church identification and current information. On the left is a space for artistic expression. The wire gridwall, attached over the wooden panel allows for changing visuals. Additional hardware for use of this gridwall system is stored in the church office. Our first featured artwork has been created by Selena Dyck. An important word emerges from the natural driftwood—you are invited to study and contemplate the shapes.
HIGHLIGHTING HOME STREET HISTORY MEMORABILIA
In the spirit of appreciating memorabilia at a closer distance, two pieces of HCMC history are now relocated to a new space.:
The oak plaque: You will notice that the Ernest Wiebe carved wooden plaque has moved to the northeast rear of the sanctuary. Now more people can read its brass-plated inscription as they enter and exit the sanctuary. The plaque serves as a welcome and benediction: “The Lord bless you and keep you and give you peace.”
The Jubilee banner, a very important part of this congregation’s history is currently on display in the upper southeast stairwell. Thanks to Brenda Suderman, its fascinating story is detailed in a write-up next to it.
THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING:
• Chuck Patkau (fearless climber) and David Siemens (walking calculator), with some assistance from Dave Braun. (we had some dramatic moments ...)
• Brenda Suderman for the fine write-up of the Jubilee banner project, which she coordinated with Home Streeters almost 10 years ago. Brenda also has made some rope pockets, which cover and protect part of the banner hanging mechansim.
• The worship committee (ongoing encouragement) who had the vision in the first place. There are also many others who offered support and advice. We hope this is the beginning of many creative expressions which the entire congregation and visitors can appreciate.
Fall 2016 / Judith Rempel Smucker