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Power Outage


Editor’s Note: The following post was written by Nate Mortenson.

Last week the whole region where we live in Bolivia had difficulties with electrical generators or other technical parts of the power plant. Consequently, Carmen Pampa University and the whole surrounding village had no electricity for almost 3 days.

After the problem was fixed, we still had an intermittent power supply for the rest of the week until the issue with the electrical plant was fixed. This experience reminded me a lot of how simplicity lived out on mission is more an environmental factor than anything.

I thought of a quote Dorothy Day had said about her Catholic Worker communities when she talked about creating a community that made it easier for people to be good.

Living here at the university makes it easier for me to live in simplicity. During that week of power outages I was forced to leave my office and mingle and chat with my colleagues and students. One day I grabbed a machete and did some “trabajo comunitario” (community work) clearing out brush from behind the administration building. I spent other moments catching up on students’ lives by just asking them questions and listening.

I know that living in the US makes living simply a lot more difficult. A huge lesson I learned while on mission is that I need to create a community around me that makes living simply a lot easier.

Mary and Nate recently returned from two years of mission at the rural Carmen Pampa University in Bolivia.

Nate, the youngest son of nine, hails from La Cross, Wisconsin. Mary grew up picking strawberries in small-town Minnesota. The couple met at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, where Mary studied sociology and outdoor leadership and Nate studied Spanish and geology. They share a passion for food and bicycling, and a desire to set their marriage on a foundation of service, simplicity, and a deeper global understanding.