Lily tried valiantly to set up a video call where Minga and I could both see and hear each other — to no avail. Lots of apps that work perfectly well here don’t work as well there, or don’t work consistently, or don’t work at all. Finally I gave up and simply called Lily’s IPhone. Minga doesn’t hear well, but we managed. I was relieved to hear her voice, which sounded strong. She said she was very ill, but now feels better. She is eager for January, when I will come.
I told her that many of you are thinking of her and praying for her, and she said she is very happy and honored to have friends in the United States who care about her. None of her age peers from the village — most of whom have predeceased her — have so many friends from the United States. She said that everyone who comes to her home treats her as an important person, and that makes her feel happy and proud.
In the early years Minga would cook sancocho for us — the traditional Panamanian chicken rice soup. In recent years she no longer cooks, but the warm welcome to her home is still there. Friend Maria called Minga a “quiet warrior”, and I think that’s just right.
Lily told her I am performing Emily’s wedding in September, and I think Minga is a bit flummoxed by that. In her world, Catholic priests marry people. I imagine she’ll ask me about it when I see her.
I’m relieved that Minga has recovered from this recent setback. She promised to be there when I arrive at her door in January. “I may die soon, Pamela, from the thing with my kidneys. But I will not die now, and not before you come.”
I am grateful that my sister of the heart is a warrior.