In his encyclical, "Laudato Si," Pope Francis includes a prayer for our earth. I was deeply moved by the encyclical, and I wanted to translate the prayer into Swahili, for fellow Tanzanians and Swahili speakers elsewhere, since it captures succinctly the spirit of the encyclical itself.
With my experience of translating Matengo folktales and Swahili poems into English, as well as English poems into Swahili, I know the challenges, frustrations, and delights of translation. I know what a humbling experience it is to translate such a thoughful, nuanced, and soulful message as Pope Francis's prayer. Still, I wanted to convey some sense of it to Swahili speakers.
A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.p
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Sala Kuiombea Dunia Yetu
Mungu mweza yote, upo kila mahali
na hata katika viumbe vyako vidogo kabisa.
Unakumbatia kwa upole wako kila kilichopo.
Tufurikie nguvu ya upendo wako
ili tuuhifadhi uhai na uzuri.
Tujaze amani, ili tuishi
kama kaka na dada, bila kumdhuru yeyote.
Ee Mungu wa maskini,
tusaidie kuwanusuru waliotelekezwa na kusahauliwa katika dunia hii,
ambao wana thamani isiyo kifani machoni mwako.
Tuletee uponyaji maishani mwetu,
ili tuihifadhi dunia badala ya kuwania kuipora,
ili tustawishe uzuri, si uchafuzi na uharibifu.
ya wale wanaowania maslahi yao tu
yanayowagharimu maskini na dunia.
Tufundishe kuibaini thamani ya kila kitu,
kujawa na uchaji na tafakari,
kutambua kuwa tumefungamana
na kila kiumbe
tunavyoelekea kwenye nuru yako isiyo na mwisho.
Tunakushukuru kwa kuwa nasi kila siku.
Tuhimize, tunakuomba, katika juhudi zetu
za kutafuta haki, upendo na amani.