Monday, June 18, 2007

World Relief

I am currently volunteering at World Relief. World Relief works in many different nations meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people all over the world.

Here in Jacksonville, World Relief works with refugees providing "vital assistance during the 'early days' after a family's arrival - helping them find accommodation, employment and adjust to American life. Above all, our church-centered ministries show hurting refugees that Christians care."

The main job I've been doing since January is teaching an English class to the new refugees. I teach four mornings a week and am enjoying it very much. The classes are unique because there are people from different nations with different levels of English, ranging from no English at all to a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. Never a dull moment.

In the last few weeks my classes have consisted of people from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Sudan, Somalia, Cuba, Russia, Belarus, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia.

This past Saturday we had a picnic to celebrate the upcoming World Refugee Day (June 20th). Below are some photos from the picnic:

Fatuma (from Ethiopia), me, and Cadicha (from Somalia)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

World Refugee Day

June 20th is World Refugee Day.

In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 20th as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world.

"Every year on June 20 the world honours the courage, resilience and strength of refugees. On this sixth anniversary of the United Nations-designated World Refugee Day, thousands of organisations in hundreds of countries will come together to focus global attention not only on the plight of refugees and the causes of their exile, but also on their determination and will to survive and on the contributions they make to their host communities."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Honeymoon in Canada

Here's some photos of our honeymoon in Banff and Jasper, Canada:

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park
Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park
Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

More to come soon.....

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Back

Okay, I know it's been over 2 months since I blogged, I'm not even sure if anyone is still out there. The past months have been spent mainly in Tampa, Florida planning a wedding. It took more time than I anticipated and the big event happened August 5th.

I haven't gotten my official photos back yet but a
friend posted a photo and video on his blog. He even posted the program! You can view it here.

Jim and I had a wonderful honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Jasper) and are now back in Jacksonville, Florida where we will live. Not sure what I will be doing yet in the way of work but hope to work with other cultures in some capacity. I hope to keep this blog updated but it will take a somewhat different look at times since I am not on the field right now.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Women Changing the World: Reform Takes Time

The president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on the Oprah Winfrey Show a couple of weeks ago.

Check it out

Friday, May 12, 2006


I'm now living back in the States after 7 years of living on a ship mainly in West Africa. My last week on the ship was filled with busyness of getting rid of stuff and packing. It all came down to two suitcases, okay three suitcases since I sent some things home with Jim. I liked the idea of not having a lot of stuff, but now I'm back in the land of "stuff" and that's an adjustment, but best left for a future post.

I've been back almost a week and haven't gone through any major reversal culture shock yet. Maybe it's because I've kept busy with planning my wedding.

So, here's a few observations I've had while adjusting back to living in a developed country:

1- I have to carry a purse now. A backpack just doesn't work in this culture. So, I have my new "re-entry purse". Any woman returning to the States must have one, right

2- I need to buy shoes. I came home with the shoes on my feet, Reef flip-flops. Fortunately it's summer time in Florida so I can get away with it some of the time. In Africa I had my "on ship" flip-flops and my "off ship" flip-flops; didn't need more than that!

3- It's much easier being a vegetarian in the US. I can buy just about any fruit or vegetable I want but it comes at a price. The avocados half the size of those in Liberia are about $2 while the large Liberian ones are 50 cents. I haven't even checked the price of cucumbers and I won't since that was the staple on the ship.

Right now I'm still trying to adjust back to this time zone but hope to continue to post on what's going on in W. Africa and with Mercy Ships.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

"We Are Trying"

Many of you have been following the story of Promise and her 18 month old son, BK. I met them over a year ago at our medical screening in Liberia. Mercy Ships was unable to help the young boy and she was sent away. I was able to visit them in their home often over the last year. You can read more here .

Last September BK's father met a man from the States who paid for BK, his mother and father to go to South Africa to have the surgery he needed. A shunt was put in and BK was doing much better. Unfortunately, his doctors said that BK would not survive for long if he remained in Liberia, where the continuing medical care he needs is not accessible.

On my most recent visit to their home, Jim came with me and we were able to meet BK's father, BK Sr. This was the first time I met him. I found him to be a gentle man who cared for his son very much. He gave up going to computer school so the money could go to BK's care. He recently lost his job and when I asked him how he is able to get by h e replied with a common Liberian answer; "we aretrying." And he added, "if we don't keep trying we will go to an early grave." I have come to learn that this is the reality here and many "are trying" day by day.

Please pray for BK and his parents as they seek the best solution for them all. I will go to say goodbye tomorrow.

Promise and BK Jim with BK