By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

English, MOI?

I asked a man in Piazza Republica in Rome, ‘Excuse me, sir, what time does the train leave?’ ‘Sorry, I don’t speak English, French,’ he answered curtly. Huh, he said he doesn’t speak English, but wasn’t what he just said English


Fr Thomas Aschman SVD gave a crash course on Mission and Renewal in Rome. He touched on the Samaritan woman in the gospel and said, ‘Today, there are only about 500 Samaritans.’ ‘No!’ I strongly objected, to his shock. ‘We have more in the Philippines and they all live in the island of Samar.’ The Filipinos in the group erupted in gales of raucous laughter.


Sr Rose Fernando FMM from Sri Lanka gave a week-long course on global warming. With scientific evidence flashing on an overhead projector, she demonstrated how the ice in the northern hemisphere will melt and consequently cause the sea level to rise. She said that many cities will be under water, with Sri Lanka and the Netherlands affected most. ‘That’s why it’s called “Netherlands” because it is neither land nor water,’ I butted in for a conclusion. Oops, bad joke. Sr Rose didn’t find that funny!


Fufu, a combination of plantain, cassava and yam pounded in a mortar, is one of Ghana’s staple foods. ‘Do you have fufu in Asia?’ an enthusiastic villager asked me. ‘No, but we have Kung Fu,’ I replied, to his delightful laughter. Chinese action movies are well patronized here in Ghana. One can see youngsters imitating Kung Fu karate style in the street or at the entrance to a movie theater.