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then realized that this could easily be misunderstood, anddid not want her thinking I did not trust her or want herin the house.Then I thought I had come up with the perfect solution.My friend told me that the housekeeper could not read orwrite because she stopped attending school at grade four.SO, I decided that I would have her help me learn Nyanjaand I would help her learn to read – I would pay her forhelping me and teach her to read along the way.With this idea in mind, I decided that I would talk to herabout my idea the ﬁrst day she was at the house.I was so disappointed when I discovered that she speaksvery little English. There was no way we couldcommunicate well enough to teach each other as much asI had hoped we would.I realized in that moment that I was a huge jerk. Whatwas I thinking? I was just assuming that she wouldgratefully accept my offer to educate her. Even though Iwas uncomfortable with her ‘working for me,’ wasn’t it just as racist for me to think that I, an educated whitewoman, could just swoop in and educate her, which I wasessentially doing to make myself feel better?In the time we’ve been together, though, we have formeda relationship. We are able to communicate relativelywell now, and have shared many things with each other.Two weeks ago, she taught me some Nyanja sayings andI taught her the English alphabet.Last week, she taught me some things in the garden. Joyfully, I have been able to pass on greetings from herprevious employers/friends, who left Zambia, which isvery special to her. In the end, I have learned much morefrom her than she has from me. But isn’t that how italways goes?!Indeed, life is about relationships. It is about letting themform over time, and waiting until there is appropriatespace to teach and learn from one another.
Amanda Robinson is a Unitarian Universalist Junior MDiv studentand native to the Austin Region.
Now two months into my seminary journey, I am stillfeeling very welcomed at APTS. That welcome is one of the reasons I chose to come here. Another is that I didn’twant to go to a school where everybody thinks just likeme; I wanted to be challenged to think and grow indifferent ways.Now that I am here, I am enjoying my classes and ﬁndingthat the professors are genuinely passionate, not justabout their subjects, but also about what we are all doinghere. They believe that what they do—and what we do—matters, and I appreciate that, even if I don’t always believe in the same way that they do.I come from traditions that honor and recognize God inand through many forms, names, and religions. In thesame way that I am known to different people in differentways: daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, student, etc.,God is known to different people in different ways:Rama, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, etc.The practices that people use to connect and interact withdivinity are different, too—study, meditation, prayer,chanting, magic—but they are the same in that they areall expressions of humanity reaching out and opening upto divinity.Through my work, I have the great privilege to talk toand meet people of faith from different denominationsand religious traditions who are working on justice issuesin their congregations and communities.I work for an interfaith education and advocacyorganization called Texas Impact, whose motto is “peopleof faith working for justice.” I feel blessed to be able tovisit different houses of worship, to pray with peopleover meals, and to listen to people’s stories about theircongregations—their joys, frustrations, and concerns.Regardless of the denomination or the religion, thechallenges and joys of being in community are the same.Whenever I ﬁnd myself in a house of worship for the ﬁrsttime, I feel like a kid in a candy store; I love to explorethese spaces that are central to the community, spaces