Doris describes a seventeen-year-old in Africa, who, since her parents died five years ago, has been raising her younger siblings alone. "On the wall of her hut is a sign, 'Relax! God is in control!' That can come out of prayer deeply rooted in the situation in the world, and lead to action that can make a difference."
Doris asks a pointed question: "Do we just give God our shopping list, and tell him what he should be doing--or she?" Answering herself, Doris describes the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, which is based in new Hamburg, just west of Kitchener-Waterloo. Inviting us to look at their website, especially, for example, the opportunity to donate a goat to a needy family in Africa or Asia, she says, "I am encouraging PWRDF to do the same."
Where does all this commitment come from? "In my family, I was the non-conformist," smiles Doris. "Growing up in Westphalia, Germany, after WWII, I was active in a church youth group with a strong mixture of Lutheran and Reform Christians. After the war, youth were wallowing in... a cloud of collective guilt. I went to England, to the Centre for International Encounter and Reconciliation near Leicester... (Youth) from France and Holland came to recover from horrible experiences, and were welcomed by a German! All through the revolutions, young people came from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Singapore, and Eastern Europe... coming out of collective guilt and living together in reconciliation. That really set me on this road of viewing the world as a Global Village!"
"I didn't finish High School – I wasn't a bad kid in today's terms, but I worked to become independent. Going to England was a big challenge!" Graduating in 1956 from college in Germany with a Diploma in Business Administration, by 1960 Doris was Scholarships Assistant with the World Council of Churches. In 1963, as Administrative Assistant to the All Africa Council of Church in Zambia, young Doris met the organisation's Secretary, Donald M'Timkulu, a political refugee from South Africa, whose Zulu name means "Big Tree". Doris returned to work in Germany for four years, then moved to Nairobi, Kenya, as Project Development Officer for the National Christian Council of Nairobi, Kenya, where Donald and Doris married in 1971.
That year, invited by the Principal of Renison College, at the University of Waterloo, Donald left his American teaching position to develop an interdisciplinary program in social development studies there. "We became part of the University community; from the beginning I was part of CUSO (Canadian University Students Overseas) on the campus. Somebody saw something in me, and said 'You should do development work.' People say something (without seeing) a particular meaning, and it pushes my life in a new direction." Joining "Miles for Millions," Doris worked with others to do more than walk once a year. "The wisdom of some was to work within existing structures, in churches and schools. For me, it was closing the circle, going back to what I had learned after the war and the work in Africa." She also earned B.A. in psychology and an M.S.W. at Waterloo.
Subsequently, Doris became Coordinator of K-W's Global Community Centre, Director of Community Services at Lutherwood (a children's mental health agency), and for thirteen years, Executive Director of the K-W YWCA.
Doris says, "Donald was much more interesting than me. His family provided a lot of leadership in South Africa; his father was one of the founders of the ANC, and Donald was on of Nelson Mandela's teachers. He held the first Ph.D. from the University of South Africa-- he earned it, but (the University) awarded him only an Honorary Ph.D. (because he was black) in Sociology of Education." Donald also earned an M.A. in Race Relations, specifically in black education, from Yale....
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