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...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Odds and Ends

The following are just some of the interesting and fun (at least to me!) things I've learned while living in the U.K. this month.

  • I went to the hole in the wall and withdrew £50 for the petty cash. ATMS are most often referred to as cash machines or a hole in the wall!

  • How would you like some stuffed marrow? A vegetable larger than the typical zuchinni stuffed with a rice and seasoning mixture.

  • You know chips are french fries, and crips are chips. Did you know corchettes are zuchini and aubergine are egg plant?

  • One of the refugees has created his own version of English. For example, following my question: "Did you get some tea or coffee?" he replied: Me n di drink. Now to follow him (especially challening in an animated conversation), you must always keep the context in mind and do some detecting. Me n di drink is translated: I had my coffee and drank it already. This person has a heart of gold. When you ask him how he is, he always replies: No bad, which I'm told is a minor variation of what Brits ususally say, Not bad. They are given to understatement always, I'm told! So we all now say No bad and laugh deeply. Laughter cures...
  • In regular Brit speak: I'm nackered means I'm worn out.
  • In one day here in addition to English, I'm likely to speak Spanish, a tad German, and hold several brief conversations in French. I will also hear Amarik, Tegrina, Arabic and Farsi.

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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.