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...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Soccer Balls for Pueblo Kids

On Thursday, I went with the McLaughlin family to a pueblo to distribute soccer balls (pelotas de futbol). Mom & dad collect used footballs from various clubs in Conneticut. They brought about 140. The 4 teens make daily sojourns into poor pueblos to inflate & distribute the soccer balls.

It's really quite simple. The 4 teens are quite sensitive to the kids & readily incorporate me into their work. We climb high off roads onto paths to reach kids. Word spreads fast & soon we have to suggest that perhaps one ball per family or pair of friends will have to suffice.

A man comes over to me asking for a ball. I reply: "Senior, no eres un chico." Sir, you're not a kid. Behind me a whole row of kids break into laughter. It is a very good feeling that I am finally beginning to speak Spanish in a manner that locals can readily understand. Believe me, in prior trips, even a "Como estas?" was met with a puzzled look!

The afternoon ends with a discussion among the 5 of us about what it means to give & to look beyond any acquisitiveness they experience from the poor youth here. After all, doesn't everyone want to receive their own? Seamus, Aislyn, Joey, and Jordan are wonderful young people to spend the afternoon with in a poor Guatemalan pueblo.

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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.