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giving hope to the people of Liberia

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Thanks to Jennifer Ruwart for asking whether I thought we succeeded in giving hope to the folks at Camphor Mission School and the answer is "yes."

I'm a mature age guy and have learned that actions speak louder than words.

While we were in Liberia we discussed many possibilities with leaders and children. I wrote a daily diary (that's hard to say)and wrote all the stories I heard. Stories about senseless murder during the war and about never having enough to eat. One of the teachers told me that he felt like he had eaten that day, if he had started out the day by eating two cups of rice--his only meal for the day.

While we were there I could see the hopefulness in the eyes of the children, could see it in the smiles of the Staff. I have to wonder what they felt the day after we left. We made some promises, they have some dreams (like pit toilets for the school, since there are none now and the bushes have to be used to the 350 students).

Since they have electricity only when they have gasoline to run a generator and run it in the evenings only, their time on the Internet, for example, is minimal, if existing. They don't get television reception, as they are in the jungle and I don't know if TV is broadcast in the country, since there is no electricity anyway.

These folks are isolated and only hear from the outside world (those of us who write to them or send them things), when they make the 100 mile trip to Monrovia to the Liberian United Methodist office to get mail and see the outside world.

I have sent them a few things since getting back, sent some money, our church, McCabe UM Church family gives money monthly, but really and truly they are shut off from the world. No phones. No mail service. No TV (bad as it is). No newspapers. It takes about 6-8 weeks for mail from McMinnville to reach Monrovia, then time for the Staff to drive through the potholes (4 hours) to get to Monrovia, four hours back, a whole day to see if they have any mail.

I found everyone willing to work there. Small children carried water in buckets on their heads, so I could take a bucket bath and they smiled when they handed me the bucket. I didn't see any begging or lazy people. Lots of teen/young adult hanging out with nothing worthwhile to do.

To answer Jennifer's question, yes I think we succeeded to giving hope and now it's up to us to fill that hope with action. Money isn't the only thing these folks need, but encouragement, love, prayers, awareness that they exist and sharing that with the rest of the world.

Excuse me, but if anyone feels moved to donate to the people of Liberia in Camphor Mission School, you can send a check to General Board Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 1501, New York, NY 10115. Mark the check ADVANCE #12548A. The amount is tax deductible and nothing withheld for overhead.

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JMKELLAM's picture

Hopefulness in the eyes of children

Nothing is more beautiful then seeing hop in a child's eyes for the first time. It sounds like you succeeded on many levels and congratulations for that.

You seem like a warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable person. I hope you make connections with others here on PulseWire who hope to do what you have already accomplished so you can work together to do even more.

To many more future successes,

Jenna Kellam

William's picture

helping children and women

Hi Jenna,

I strive to be loving, but am not perfect. Since raising three daughters, I have understood the needs of girls/women and have tried to be there for my daughters.

I believe in Jensine and her staff and when I sent them a note about the HIV positive women in the Congo, they suggested I share it on PulseWire. I've been networking for a number of years and it looks like some things are starting to happen. Bottom line: our sisters in Africa have the urge, but need a leg-up to succeed. I am hoping to connect, as you suggested, with another or some others, who share my dream and will unite in a sustainable effort to help our sisters. I am absolutely open to ideas, being directed and whatever it takes to help the African women. Now that I've met a number of African women, my love and dedication has only increased.

What are your areas of interst, Jenna?
peace and love,
William

Wendy's picture

Hope for Children

Giving hope to the children in Liberia is one of the best gifts you can give them. I'd love to help and become a part of this work, I am eager to become part of the effort to help spread the word that they exist. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? What works best? How can we turn this into a humanitarian issue that many people can identify with, and not just an African issue?

Peace and Love,

Wendy

William's picture

Hope for children

Hi Wendy,

There is no quick, easy way to change the world. You can quote me on that.

Save the Children, UNISEF (spelling?) are making a good impact on a "HELPING CHILDREN" level.

I can now put faces on "children" and have seen their needs. It cost my wife and I about $5,000.00 to go to Liberia and I did question whether it wouldn't be better to just send that money to a reputable organization instead of me traveling to a place where I went 19 days without a shower and existed on a diet of 100% carbs. Whew, it was as hard on my 71 year old body as I had expected.

The hope I saw on the faces of the children is implanted in my heart and the thousands of photos are just visual reminders.

My heart is in Africa. I have contact names, know the needs (mostly education for girls)and want to help somehow. I know the answer: awareness, activity and money.

There are many things we could do without driving more than 50 miles in any direction: having an All-African get -together with Ethnic food for sale would be one event. There are about 18,000 people from Africa who are now living in the Portland area, so we have the participants and maybe we could build community for them too. There is one idea that I've wanted to implement for several years. I know some local folks who could help too.

To make a difference we would need an organization, a long-term plan (like 10 or 20 years) and some fund-raising events.

What are your thoughts, Wendy?
peace,
William

Your humanity - this conversation - fills me with such warmth. All of us on PulseWire are so lucky to walk part of life's journey together. Thanking you for sharing and inspiring.

Jennifer

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