Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
- Liberia endured 14 years of civil conflict from 1989 to 2003.
- Before the war, there were ten orphanages. Now there are at least 142.
- Before the war, orphans were cared for by extended family (kinship care) or the community at large (foster care), making orphanages almost obsolete. This intrinsic cultural safety net was degraded by the conflict. While it is still present, it has been overshadowed by a mean entrepreneurial spirit that's noticed the international aid and attention that an orphanage can attract.
- Among groups like ours, the generally accepted number of actual orphans in orphanages is 33-50%, the rest having either been recruited away from their families up-country, or residing at the orphanage under a boarding school arrangement (but under the false pretense or being an orphan).
- This huge proportion of non-orphans diverts aid and attention away from the real orphans, and relieves parents' responsibility to care for their own children. This program is predicated on the finding that children thrive under individualized attention that they simply don't receive in an orphanage setting.
- The goal of the program is to reduce the total number of non-orphans, then reduce the number of orphanages by closing those homes with abusive, neglectful, trafficking, and profiteering directors. This will allow the government and its helping hands to focus resources on the remaining orphan(age)s with excellent directors committed to raising healthy, successful children.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
I'm leaving today for a week-long retreat in a monastery, a much-needed re-focusing exercise. Then, out of the blue, this poem landed in my inbox this morning. Enjoy, and see you later.
Not for one second
will my self hold still, but wanders
everywhere it can turn. Not you,
it is I am absent.
You are the stream, the fish, the light,
the pulsing shadow,
you the unchanging presence, in whom all
moves and changes.
How can I focus my flickering, perceive
at the fountain's heart
the sapphire I know is there?
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
Friday, 26 June 2009
Friday, 12 June 2009
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
"one of the things that happens in brickworld: you spend a lot of time talking about how right you are. Which of course leads to how wrong everybody else is. Which then leads to defending the wall. It struck me [...] that you rarely defend a trampoline. You invite people to jump on it with you." (27)
"'When everything gets answered, it's fake. The mystery is the truth.'" (33)
Sunday, 24 May 2009
We have to test everything.I thank God for anybody anywhere who is pointing people to the mysteries of God.But those people would all tell you to think long and hard about what they are saying and doing and creating.Test it. Probe it.Do that to this book.Don't swallow it uncritically. Think about it. Wrestle with it.Just because I'm a Christian and I'm trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn't mean I've got it nailed. I'm contributing to the discussion.God has spoken, and the rest is commentary, right?
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Friday, 8 May 2009
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Monday, 4 May 2009
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
When I see birches bend to left and rightAcross the lines of straighter darker trees,I like to think some boy's been swinging them.But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen themLoaded with ice a sunny winter morningAfter a rain. They click upon themselvesAs the breeze rises, and turn many-coloredAs the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shellsShattering and avalanching on the snow-crust--Such heaps of broken glass to sweep awayYou'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,And they seem not to break; though once they are bowedSo low for long, they never right themselves:You may see their trunks arching in the woodsYears afterwards, trailing their leaves on the groundLike girls on hands and knees that throw their hairBefore them over their heads to dry in the sun.But I was going to say when Truth broke inWith all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm(Now am I free to be poetical?)I should prefer to have some boy bend themAs he went out and in to fetch the cows--Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,Whose only play was what he found himself,Summer or winter, and could play alone.One by one he subdued his father's treesBy riding them down over and over againUntil he took the stiffness out of them,And not one but hung limp, not one was leftFor him to conquer. He learned all there wasTo learn about not launching out too soonAnd so not carrying the tree awayClear to the ground. He always kept his poiseTo the top branches, climbing carefullyWith the same pains you use to fill a cupUp to the brim, and even above the brim.Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.So was I once myself a swinger of birches.And so I dream of going back to be.It's when I'm weary of considerations,And life is too much like a pathless woodWhere your face burns and tickles with the cobwebsBroken across it, and one eye is weepingFrom a twig's having lashed across it open.I'd like to get away from earth awhileAnd then come back to it and begin over.May no fate willfully misunderstand meAnd half grant what I wish and snatch me awayNot to return. Earth's the right place for love:I don't know where it's likely to go better.I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,And climb black branches up a snow-white trunkToward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,But dipped its top and set me down again.That would be good both going and coming back.One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Monday, 13 April 2009
Sunday, 12 April 2009
- A traditional service complete with hymns and white gloves -- but still African at FOUR HOURS LONG!
- An enormous meal of down-home cookin': Mariel's roast chicken, rolls and stuffing by Ashley, roast potatoes by yours truly, Christy's pineapple casserole (!), with a death-by-chocolate fudge cake and ice cream to top it all off! (Who says you need tryptophan to enter an Easter coma?!)
- My inaugural round of Catch Phrase -- stressful!
- A long evening splash in C's pool, complete with watching that fiery red sun set through palm trees, just like it came up.
- A hot shower. (If you don't know, this is a bi-monthly extravagance at best -- HEAVEN!)