Sunday, September 04, 2005

this is sierra leone...

it's so weird to hear about all of the hurricane stuff from so far away... we intentionally ate at a restaurant with satelite cable so we could watch CNN today, but of course, there was a soccer game on so we were out of luck. i've heard that they're calling in the worst natural disaster in US history, and i just read a few articles detailing the situation... i even read that they're bringing some troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan to help deal with the aftermath. i pray that you are all doing well, and that you're finding ways to respond to our neighbors and their suffering.

one article that i read had an interesting quote from a survivor. i can't imagine how she must feel right now, but reading it from a place like Freetown, i was caught off gaurd... the woman said, "They have us living here like animals... We have only had two meals, we have no medicine and now there are thousands of people defecating in the streets. This is wrong. This is the United States of America."

of course, NO ONE should be living like that. NO ONE should have to live in such life-threatening conditions, with the looming threat of starvation, disease, murder, rape, or any number of horrible possibilities. the woman is exactly right. THIS IS WRONG. but it is wrong everywhere - not just in the United States of America. it is wrong on every continent, in every country, every city, every village. nationality has nothing to do with justice. we are all created in the image of God. we should all be treated as such. my heart breaks as i read the details about new orleans. and i admit that i catch myself thinking, "how is this happening in the US?!?!?" but my question should be "how is this happening to anyone?!?!" no matter who or where or why...

just some highlights from this past week...

we started language lessons on monday. that was "fun"... i think i'm picking it up alright, but there are a lot of vowel sounds and they are confusing to me. we are also learing how to write Krio, which is mainly a spoken language, so that just confuses me ever more... i guess for now i can speak a little "Kringlish" as they call it.

on thursday 3 of us apotos (white people) accompanied one of the kids from the lighthouse to visit his family outside the city. it was only about an hour from the center of freetown and the drive was beautiful. the boy (i'll call him A) is from a poor family, and he left home for the streets of freetown because his parents didn't have enough money to support everyone. i know this is really difficult for most of us to understand, but that's the way it happens in a lot of the world... anyway, he hadn't been home for about 6 months, so it was really special to be there. "A" is about 20 years old and is being apprenticed in the tailoring business. he made himself a new outfit just for the occasion of visiting his family, and carried a new water container as a gift for his mother. i asked if his mother new he was coming which was a stupid question because there's no way she would have... but that just made it all the more exciting in my opinion! as we walked up the road to his family's home, his younger sisters ran out to meet us. both of his parents were solemn, but clearly happy to see their son... i almost cried! as we sat under a tree, "A" introduced me to his father as "the woman who is teaching him to read." what the?!?!?! i've never been so humbled in my life. his father was SO grateful, and i tried to communicate that it was a pleasure to read with his son, but i'm sure it didn't translate... anyway, before we left that afternoon, his father asked if i would help "A" write a letter home. again, i almost cried, but promised we would work on the letter.

last night 4 of the little boys from the Kroo Bay area stayed at our house. they are cared for by a Sierra Leonean man named Noah who is about my age, so the staff that we live with decided he could probably use a break. let's just say that boys are boys, so it felt a little bit like my whole summer at the Y, and it was really fun. we ate and danced and did kung-fu moves through the air. then watched part of "return of the king" and went to bed. needless to say, when i woke up this morning, they were already running laps in the living room, all excited to go outside and throw things... i think i was having little-kid withdrawal, so it was actually quite refreshing for me.

today i visited an anglican church which was a nice break because it was all in English. it was also a communion sunday, so i was really glad that we were there. then went home, layed in my own sweat, and laughed with my roommates about dumb stuff. i love laughing at dumb stuff.

it's been a good week. thanks for reading.

peace and love - steph

p.s. if you would like to e-mail me, please use


Anonymous said...

Hi Steph!
This is the best thing I've ever read. You really put things into perspective for everyone. God really knew what he was doing when he created His plan for you. On another note, I've got a HUGE pile of toilet paper and other goods sitting in my office. No, I'm not having bowel problems - it's all from Berger Hospital employees donating to the disaster relief. Take care in Sierre Leone you "apoto." I miss you lots. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

Love ya,

jarabeara said...

steph. i'm loving you.
i want to read everything you read.
remember that one time i almost messed up your tickets.
i love you sweet girl.