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...

Monday, August 8, 2011

This coming week and my refugee friends...

A main reason for coming to Britain twice a year costly as it is, is to renew my friendship with refugees I met and lived with in previous visits while volunteerign at Catholic worker Houses.

Tomorrow we go to a lawyer that I've found to try to help a particularly wonderful friend get help with an asylum request. Imagine: Your father was in the wrong political party; you made the mistake of walking in as peaceful demonstration; you belong to the wrong ehtnic group in the former Soviet Union; you were of the wrong Christian faith in your homeland - for eahc of these, you have been beaten, imprisoned, lost all or most of your family.

Again terrible odds, you made oyur way throuygh various African or Middle Eastern countries eventually to the United Kingdom. Here like at home immigration is a hot issue. They should go home, where they belong.' God help us if we actually had to share the abundance that most of us have. I so easily lament a rise in prices when I so easily spend money almost without thinking. Money spent in one evening that would feed an entire family for a month.

Our visit to the lawyer will nto be easy as it is both promising and possibly hearthbreaking. Please pray for my friend and so many others.

Today, I travel into London to visit with and take out to eat a friend from Senegal, also seeking asssitance.

Tuesday, after the lawyer appointment, it is time to visit with my Ethiopian and Congolese friends who have been granted 'leave to stay.'

Afterwards, my dear British friend, Danny, and his wife are taking me out to dinner. Dany busy as head of company spends much of his 'free time' working directly with those in need. He always opens windows for me to see what is out there and how to frame it within a social justice and spiritual context. He often gives me wondeful books on which I can learn much.

Wednesday, I joiny my British friend who gave a promising career ib finance to work daily for the needy here in Britain. Steve is wonderful company and allows me to not lose sight of the bigger picture. an inspiring young man.

In the evening, I was accompany the soup run with the 'Simon community.' They always ask me if I can drive a van. Happy to, I demure, given it's night, central London and a van. AND as we say the wrong side of the street! I've driven in England twice, but a large van at night in London - I think not! The van will make about 5 stops around London where those ' sleeping rough' will come for soup and sandwiches plus coffee. Seeing a Yank is alway a curiosity and for some actually a 'treat.'

Thursday is a local day of rest in Basildon with my good friend Zelda. for dinner we will meet her friend Peggy who is always good company. Zelda keeps quite busy with many social jsutice activities: Trident Ploughshares, Dale Famr to name just two.

Friday and saturday will eb more visits and good-byes as my flight leave Heathrow Sunday.

Please pray daily for my dear friends and those so many we do not know, but who suffer so much - here, in the Americas, the middle East and the rest of the world.

In all this, I've managed to do my 45 minute exercise walk each day - a wonderul tonic!
Why did I avoid it for so long!

Thanks & Cheers!

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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.