The Ethic of Reciprocity

The community here at St. Gabriel’s has done nothing but welcome me, a complete outsider to their world.

Many people here have trusted me with their children (much to my surprise); as a result, I’ve become very attached to many of them:



Christopher Dallas

As well as a few others:


Sister Honesta


They’ve invited us to explain derivatives on home-made chalkboards:

An honest attempt

Shared many dinners with us:

A gathering to be remembered

Offered sugar cane:

All I can say: I tried… Oh, I tried.

Let us explore their villages:

Gogos - “grandmothers” - in a local village

Travel their scenic routes:

Beautiful path in the woods on a long run

The ethic of reciprocity, otherwise known as the Golden Rule, demands that we treat each other how we want to be treated. This principle is a global concept: the ethic of reciprocity shows up Christianity, Buddhism, Baha’i Faith, Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Jainism and Islam.

The community here at St. Gabriel’s treated me well. As a firm believer of the ethic of reciprocity, I have tried to give back.

After many hours with Matthews, who I would now call a good friend, we came the close of our translating sessions (FrontlineSMS Messages – upwards of 4,300 messages completed!).

The completed incubator, ready for action at St. Gabriel’s:

The training sessions with the Surgery Ward attendants also came to a close. Empowered with knowledge and a set of DVDs that provide videos of the lessons they learned, they are ready to work:

Patricia, Dorothy, Alinafe and the cameraman

Their hard work paid off:

Patricia and Alinafe helping a patient using crutches

My sister and I measured the pots in the guardians’ (who take care of patients – feeding and washing them) smoke room for the technology team at Rice University to create a energy-efficient pot design that greatly reduces smoke output:

Hazy conditions

My bags are lighter as I leave – many gifts were given. The numerous polos I brought to wear at the hospital have dwindled in supply, soccer balls have been distributed and gifts given:

A new dress

The next day, Grace has a new outfit:

All smiles

In the Warm Heart of Africa, the ethic of reciprocity thrives.

Warmth cannot be forgotten