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...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quite a Day

Simple enough it began in Oxford at the Catholic Worker House and ended in South London with side trips to London tidge and Angel Islington! A simple breakfast & packing my things for what has become a too often journey - one place to another laden down with heavy bags - the original arrangement reneged late in the game.

Could you help m write a letter for asylum in English? This ousting the time for going to help at the soup kitchen.

Then to the Oxford London tube bus. Briefly I spoke with a young man on the bus who turned out to be have just gradated. Later guiding me from the bus, including carrying a heavy bag of mine, he shared his next step it medical school.

It struck me, wouldn't it be nice if he worked with 'Doctors Without Borders.' Literally 2 seconds later unprompted he told me that his goal was the work with Medecins sin Frontieres aka Doctors without Borders. What a wonderful chance occurrence.

Then the fun began. I had arranged to meet up with two Brit gentlemen. As I made my way
through London on the tube and later DLR, I hauled my heavy bags - encountering obstacles - time was fast running out to meet my Brit friends.

Finally I reached the hostel in Woolwich Arsenal. Quick check in & back to central London.

My first meet up with Arnold from the Jesuit Refugee Services was full of good conversation and perspective. I am here to help[ out asylum seekers in a system resplendent with obstacles, inconsistency and ...

I next made my way to Angel tube station to meet Steve, a wonderful Brit who eschewed an IT career to help those in need. Following Steve's lead I ordered a veggie burger. Such goof fortune - how tasty & as he said to me: "It's good for you!"

We watched the France v. Mexico game. Steve kindly explained much of the game to me. I have been reading daily & listening carefully to my Ethiopian friend's explanations.

On my long journey back to Woolwich, I stopped off at a Weatherspoons to access the net. Lo & behold I found myself in the midst of English, Scots and Welsh. Who would I side with? Their question. My goal - keeping my head down!

Arriving back at the hostel finally, I was met first by an Italian I had met the prior week and then a young Estonian lad as well. Both were full of enthusiasm at my return - how kind.

Still awake, I made my way to the main room of the hostel to check email & compose my amazing day. As I wrote, the manager, a young man from Sweden, came by & handed me a chocolate treat.

That act in a sense summarized my day. I was surrounded by goodness, a treat to be sure.

Now, how do we alert the world - there is a better way?

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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.