Thursday, October 13, 2011

I’m usually a little behind in updating the blog. Occasionally I’m writing about something that just happened or that’s on my mind at that moment. Sometimes the story’s something ongoing – usually if it’s an individual’s story. Sometimes it’s something that took place in the past few weeks. And sometimes, like this update, it’s about something from 2 months ago, or that took place 6 months to a year or more ago – maybe a particular event, maybe an ongoing struggle I’m dealing with in my thoughts, experiences, feelings.

Someone recently (in the last 6 months to a year ago) pointed out that I’m writing a lot about the camp and less about the work in Accra. Hmmm. That person was correct. I have a couple more updates about Hope for Life, but that’s not what this one is about. I think I got stuck on the camp stories because there’s a greater feeling of . . . um, I’m not sure: aloneness; abandonment; manipulation; tragedy; greed; corruption; courage; love; frustration; selflessness; selfishness; anger; dependency; . . . oh, I could continue the list if my vocabulary was expansive enough or if I had a thesaurus next to me and if I hadn’t already digressed even before beginning what I wanted to write about. Anyway, the Liberian civil war has brought out the majesty and dignity and selflessness in some people . . . and the idiocy, greed and depravity in others (and, for all of this, I’m not just referring to Liberians, but the larger community of peacekeepers, relief agencies, missionaries, etc).

Anyway . . blah blah blee blee . . I don’t want to get all preachy or political in this. I try to save that for one-on-ones with people who are interested.

Last year, at the end of July, we had some money in the Harmony coffers and did a beach trip with the kids (a reminder: Harmony is a center for people on the camp with disabilities and it has an afternoon program for kids with disabilities. This program also welcomes siblings, friends, neighbor children, etc. of the kids with disabilities). We had wanted to do more outings because that’s part of a therapeutic process (doing a variety of activities etc. etc. etc.) and because, well, it was just plain fun for all of us - - children and staff and parents, to be out of the daily routine in a fun, playful and beautiful way.

But, inflation and all that goes with the economic problems around the world prevented us from doing any more outings. Sad, but what to do? Things needed to be done with the money that was donated so that the afternoon program would continue. Outings seem like they should somehow be a priority (in my mind, at least, since they seem to be providing the greatest growth potential for the kids, the greatest healing and feelings of togetherness and community for the adults with the kids), but, when ongoing running costs (which are extremely minimal) are barely being met, then we needed to make the decision to keep meeting those costs and let the “extra-curricular” activities kind of slip away. Finally, my departure was drawing nearer and nearer and we really wanted to do another outing. Then my 3rd quarter allotment and donations came in and there was enough in the donations that we could work out another beach trip (thanks to all who helped with that).

The organization, the togetherness, the cooperation, the sacrifices that took place to make this beach trip possible made it all worthwhile. Wonderful people and a great day for all of us.

I also had some good friends who were visiting and joined for the beach trip – a couple of them were life guards, so, an added bonus for all of us. This trip took place at the beginning of August and they’re still talking about this being a special memory they have of their 2nd last day in Ghana.

I look at the pictures now that I’ve gone from Ghana, gone from Harmony – and, of course, I feel for it. I miss the good people I was working with, I miss (and, to be honest, am relieved not to be responsible for . . .) some of the struggles, and I miss the beauty I saw in so many of the people I was with there. I miss my friends, but life will go on . . .

"Grandpa" is the teacher in the afternoon program

Me and Thomas, who I've written about in the past

Elizabeth, wearing the perfect t-shirt for her, "Powerful", and yet, so humble and simple. A fabulous woman who made this beautiful day possible


At 11:18 AM, Blogger krampatt said...

Thanks for sharing about your life Steve. I look forward to hearing about what you are up to next. Ken Patterson

At 10:36 PM, Blogger MJ said...

Well I'm finally getting a chance to comment on this Steve and all I can really say is what a wonderful way to spend some of your last days in Ghana also. What great memories you have of your stay there and what a wonderful ending to your time--I know you will be back visiting there and hope that maybe you will be able to repeat the beach outing while there.


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