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, July 1, 2010

An Afternoon at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland

Many of you will recall that Todd & Sarah's youngest son has Hurler's Syndrome. Arriving in Portland by train from Seattle, I went to the children's hospital. Ethan was receiving an infusion, his 2nd that day.

Walking into a children's ward, memories flooding back to 33 years ago, I was struck with how upbeat people were. Ethan was busily playing while his dad dutifully rolled the IV pole after him.

We were there until 6:30 p.m. Todd has been there many more hours. Still he maintained a calm and attentive demeanor with his active almost 2 year old.

Coming from the U.K, where I witnessed so much difficulty for those seeking asylum, I was struck again by how easy most of us have it. A child about 8, head completely shaven, walked quietly with his mother. A teen rolling himself about in a wheelchair. There is so much suffering.

Around 6:30 Sarah arrived with Caleb, Ethan's older almost 6 brother. Full of energy and waiting to be held high, he greeted me.

We retired to the cafeteria. I was touched by how easily Ethan & Cal played. Children teach us how to live. It is a difficult and long road ahead of Ethan and his family. He is fortunate to have two loving parents. It is impressive to see Todd & Sarah together, clearly in love and managing a difficult & heartbreaking situation.

Please keep them in your prayers & good thoughts. The immediate question is will the transplant take sucessfully.

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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.