Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LONDON Day 5 7/25/08

Hello from East London!

Arrived safe & sound to 70 degree and sunny. Martin (Fr. Newell) met me at The tube and my introduction began. He's a pleasant man just 40 who lives Simply. Next I met Zelda, an acknowledge atheist. From the start she has with Much energy (She 3 years younger and at times leaves me in the dust!). She gave me a tour of the simple two story house and then the neighbourhood.

One of the appeals is that the Dorothy Day London CW is in a simple neighborhood - East London in Hackney.

One of the appeals is that the Dorothy Day London CW is in a simple neighborhood - East London in Hackney.

It's a nice walk to the cafe - open M-W 11:30 - 7:00 p.m. There's a canal just a block away on which Zelda is taking me for a short tour to a small neighborhood museum before we begin our cafe shift today.

The café is almost like an extended family. Homeless, poor people scraping by, local children, people out for lunch all stop by for a simple lunch that is cheap or free. What works so well is those who have may give more.

For example, a hearty bowl of soup with toast is 70p which given our weak dollar is about $ 1.40. After eating his lunch a young students gave me £2 = $4.15 and said he did not want any change. There’s no tipping, all goes to support the outreach work.


There are a number of regulars who "hang out" for hours each day. Barry, a retired gentleman in his 60's stays most every afternoon. He is a treat.

Picture your older English gent who sits in a pub and talks with a decidedly English accent (what else!), and has the pauses and inflections in speech that are so much fun. Add to that a wealth of local knowledge and a curiosity that invites you to regular conversation.

I've enjoyed meeting all kinds of people and learning about daily life in the U.K. I'm now working on reading a different paper each day to get a sense of the print media. There is a regular stream of customers in the cafe who live locally - many young and working or in various causes. That is great fun as young people everywhere are open and most interesting.

NEXT POST - Refugees in London

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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.