Notes from Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and Limpopo, South Africa

Project on Lived Theology summer interns Claire Constance and Peter Hartwig have been blogging this summer to share stories and theological reflections from their summer work. Claire, a rising third year and Virginia native, has spent the summer in Limpopo, South Africa, working with a team of graduate and undergraduate students to pilot a child development training program for nurses. Peter Hartwig, also a rising third year from Charlottesville, has partnered with graduate student mentor Nathan Walton to teach a course in American religious autobiography at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Read excerpts from their excellent reflections below, and read much more about their summers here. Learn about the internship program and more about Claire and Peter here. And stay tuned for their continued reflections throughout the month of August.

ThohoyandouClaire ConstanceClaire: “Ultimately, I still believe that the choices that we make are determined by the choices that we have. That spiritual freedom is only a possibility for those who have a concept of the spirit. That even though people like the community health workers that we met in Tiyani this week will always give me hope that people will do good and be good whether or not they have the time to do it, it is our responsibility to not make that choice a burdensome one when we can.”

Peter HartwigPeter: “This is really what our training taught me to do: fear creatively. There was no hand-to-hand combat or issuing of badges and guns. There was no active self-defense. Just figure out how your clothing, your utensils, parts of your own body, can be weaponized before someone else does….With every passerby—guard, prisoner, volunteer—there is a second of paralysis in which I re-arm myself. In the house, you are your only protection: expression, stance, stature. I have to hide behind myself. And I am not much to hide behind. So many Christians think that at the heart of our religion is a binary: faith/doubt….But it seems to me…that the binary is actually one of faith and fear.”