It’s not uncommon for people to comment on the negative aspects of social media and, yet, every now and then we see how it can build a positive sense of community among organizations. Since starting this position as a Web Content Manager, I’ve come to realize that there are some special things made possible by social media – for example, getting to interact and keep in touch with ASEC Sisters in Africa every day and joining in celebration for their successes.
Although we consistently focus on the ASEC mission, because we are, well, half a world away, sometimes office life can have its ebbs rather than its flows. In other words, we are always connected and dedicated to the ASEC mission, but we don’t always get to experience it firsthand, and sometimes that can disconnect us spiritually, even if just momentarily.
That is why it was quite exciting one random Thursday morning to see multiple messages come into our Facebook messenger. I briefly panicked - wondering why there were so many at once - until I started reading through them. They were messages from Sisters who were taking a basic technology workshop. They were all writing to thank ASEC for the opportunity and express their gratitude for being exposed to the world of email.
Sometimes you don’t have to see the mission being carried out to read about its impact. For me, this was an eye-opening moment, one that brought my own heart joy and gratitude. I reflected on my own relationship with email – how I had my first email address by age seven and by now feel overwhelmed by how many messages seem to appear even though I just checked.
There are many reminders in this organization about not taking the small stuff for granted and this was one of them. Whereas over time email has become a source of stress and annoyance for Americans, the Sisters in Africa feel a door of expression and communication has been opened with their access to digital communication platforms.
“Greetings from Sr. Martha Bridget Wambayi, Sisters of the Blessed Virgin, I am very grateful for all your collaboration and good work that you are doing to check on the welfare of the sisters all over the world by the support of Hilton Conrad. Thank you for giving me a chance to study and acquire basic technology. May God bless you.”
“Greetings from Sr. Tambasi from Kenya. I want to take this opportunity [to thank ASEC] for allowing me to be part of this training. Thank you very much for making this possible. The society we live in has benefited a lot from the sisters who are already trained.”
“Thanks for giving me this chance to learn basic technology. What i have learned is: how to open email on the computer, how to create an account, how to join the class, to create folders, to download photos and to save documents. I have hope that I will capture more.Thanks and have a blessed evening. Chesang Sarah Soi."
It can sometimes feel like the importance of ASEC is happening in a continent very far away - but this proves that education is the key to making the world more accessible to all. Before learning these skills, sisters did not have the tools needed to be able to send me messages of gratitude via digital platforms. Because they had the workshops and learned, I received 20+ messages on a Thursday when I needed it the most. Most importantly, they reminded me that they are receiving skills and education where their communities need it most!
This is not to say that our mission has anything to do with me feeling like I need messages of gratitude – not at all. It is to say that every educational experience for Sisters holds benefit to their development and ability to connect with others all over the world. These opportunities give Sisters a voice to share what they know, to learn more, and to grow in their technology skills. By supporting the education of a sister, you are opening new doors of opportunity.