Gave us your email before?
What's all this then?
Many aid workers keep online journals called web logs, or "blogs" for short. Blogs tend to be very personal, to present unabashedly biased opinions and to be much less formal than an organization's web site. Blogs are sometimes provocative, and some may make you feel uncomfortable -- you certainly won't agree with everything you read in blogs, including those produced by aid workers.
The AWN blog portal presents a range of aid worker-produced blogs from around the world. However, AWN is not responsible for the content of any of these blogs, and inclusion here on the AWN blog portal in no way endorses their content by AWN. If you disagree with what a blog has presented, by all means, write the blog author ("blogger") directly and let him or her know what you think.
If you would like to submit a blog by an aid, relief or development worker, please complete this form.
Hundreds pay tribute to 'outstanding' Nottingham campaignerCommunity remembers George Powe who worked tirelessly to improve race relations in city
14/10/2013 12:46 PM Image Text: DIGNIFIED AND GENEROUS: George Powe (Pic: Nottingham Evening Post)MOURNERS TURNED out in their hundreds last week to pay their respects to a man who played a key role in fighting discrimination and inequality in Nottingham.George Powe, 87, of Mapperley, who passed away on September 9, was described as a bridge who linked the community together.His funeral was held at Mansfield Road Baptist Church, in Sherwood Rise last week.As pallbearers carried Powe’s coffin into the church draped in a Jamaican flag, Bob Marley’s One Love was played.Powe was a key player in the formation of the Afro-Caribbean National Artistic (ACNA) Centre in St Ann’s, which he was inspired to create following race riots in the city in August 1958.His widow, Jill Westby, led the tributes during the service by delivering the eulogy. She told the congregation they first met over 50 years ago while campaigning for nuclear disarmament.“He was very aware of widespread racial discrimination in the forces and civilian world. He fought to turn the situation around,” she said.“Some of you might remember a time when black people were treated very badly in pubs. He and I started a campaign inside a Nottingham pub where black people were not welcome in the same room as whites. It turned nasty and we went away peacefully, and the pub was closed down a few weeks later.”She added: “I’m proud to have been married to a man who was so generous with his time and fought hard for all communities. He had a strong moral compass. He was respectful and dignified and it was a privilege to be part of his life.”Powe was born in Kingston, Jamaica on August 11, 1926. At the age of 19, he left the island to spend four years serving with the RAF during the Second World War.Through his years of active service, he also encountered racism.He went on to become the UK’s first black councillor while living in Long Eaton, and also served with Notts County Council.Another of the city’s leading race equality campaigners, Milton Crosdale, chairman of the Nottingham and District Racial Equality Council, also gave his tributes to Powe during the service.He said: “His vision was to create an environment for change and to leave the world a better place than he found it. I worked with George for nearly 50 years but more closely during those 12 years when we were chairman and secretary at the ACNA Centre. I got to know the man and respect him and his capability to serve.”He added: “I’ve always found him to be a gentleman, a man with compassion whose concern for others outweighed his own personal needs.”The service also heard other tributes from friends and relatives from across the UK and Jamaica.A representative of the Jamaican High Commissioner also spoke, describing Powe as having been “an outstanding ambassador for Jamaica.”Former Nottingham South MP Alan Simpson, who had known Powe since the 1970s, shared his own tributes.He said: “He was a really important bridge that stretched across the community and pulled it together.”The funeral was followed by a burial at Wilford Hill Cemetery and a reception at the ACNA Centre.Donations in memory of Powe were collected at the service and are to be given to the Nottingham Black Archive at a later date.
Posted on: 14/10/2013 12:46 PM Thank you for viewing my blog!
[This obituary was written by my Alan Simpson, Nottingham South Labour MP, about his friend George. It has been submitted to The Independent.]
It was never clear whether George Powe was on St Ann's Well Road or not, when Nottingham's ‘race riots' took place in that late August of 1958. It didn't really matter. George knew that if he was not to be defined as 'the riot' he had better be part of the solution. And that's what his life was about.
Although George was probably Britain's first Black Labour councillor, most of Nottingham knew him for his community work. Born in Kingston, Jamaica (on August 11, 1926) George volunteered to fight for Britain in the Second World War.
He returned to Britain after the war, and in the late 70’s helped found the Afro Caribbean National Artistic centre (ACNA) in Nottingham. He continued as its Secretary for all but his final years. More than this, George was a key part of the glue that linked Afro Caribbean and Asian communities into the mainstream of city politics.
George already had a decade of anti-nuclear/CND campaigning tucked under his belt by the time we met in the early '70s. We were part of a movement that easily spilled over into education, anti apartheid and anti-poverty campaigns
George never lost sight of the importance of connecting big picture and small picture politics into a single vision. He was always doing 'casework' for people. It never mattered whether he was 'in office' or not. He just got on with it.
George would smile at today's burgeoning number of community food co-operatives. He had been in the vanguard of these, almost 40 years earlier. Knee-deep in the laughter and confusion of setting up the first St Ann's food coop, I recall George quietly saying "And no South African produce, right?" It was just about getting the ground rules right. Of course families could supply ourselves with cheaper, better food. But we didn't have to do so off the back of a greater evil.
George didn't strut any of this. He was content to be the engine that kept things running. 'Tie your ropes together', was the maxim George lived his life by. He did so within the Labour Party, within the peace movement, in education and in the community.
What he brought as a young man, volunteering to fight in a war against racism and fascism, he continued to bring as part of his own post-war settlement.
With or without the St Ann's race riots, George would have lived a life that was focused on building the peace, rather than just winning a war. Those who shared some of this with him will be eternally grateful for his company, his consistency and his comradeship.
George died on September 9, 2013. He was survived by Jill Westby, his second wife (whom he married in 1982), his 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
ALAN SIMPSON - Labour MP (1992-2010) and friend for 40 years.Thank you for viewing my blog!
[This obituary was written by my aunt Jill, about her husband George. It was submitted to The Guardian but it was shortened for publication. Published version.]
My husband, Oswald George Powe, always known as George, was born in Kingston Jamaicain 1926. He had a happy childhood in a family with high aspirations for its children. His father was a Chinese conjuror, from Canton, China, who emigrated to Jamaica and became a merchant, along with his brothers. George’s parents made sure that he had a good education and he was part way through college, studying to become an electrical engineer when he volunteered, in 1944, to join the Royal Air Force. Trained in radar, he spent much of the time stationed in Devon and Cornwall. He went back to Jamaica a couple of years after the war ended, and was demobbed, but decided to returned to Englandwithin a few months. He stayed here for the rest of his life.
In the 40’s he was very aware that there was widespread racial discrimination in the forces and in the civilian world. He saw horrific treatment of black people in London, was on the receiving end of much of it, and was soon fighting to attempt to turn this situation around. He joined the Communist Party, which at that time was probably the most active group promoting the rights of disadvantaged and exploited people. At some point in the 40’s he wrote a pamphlet called “Don’t Blame the Blacks”.
He moved to Birminghamand later to Long Eaton, Derbyshire. He eventually left the Communist Party and joined the Labour Party, retaining his Labour Party membership for the rest of his life. In the early 60’s he was elected as a Labour Party Councillor in Long Eaton, and was, I believe, the first black man to achieve such a position in this country. He moved to Nottinghamin 1971 and after a few years was elected, again as a Labour Councillor, on Nottinghamshire County Council.
I first met him just over 50 years ago, shortly after Cuba Crisis Week. We were pushing leaflets about the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament through letterboxes on opposite sides of a road on a snowy evening. I remember thinking that he must have been feeling very cold, as I assumed he had just arrived in this country after a long journey in a boat.
Little did I know that he had been over here for 20 years!
In the 60’s black people were still being treated very badly in public places such as pubs, clubs, schools, shops and in courts of law. He and I started a campaign against a Nottingham pub where black people were not welcomed in the same room as whites. A large number of people, black and white came along to try to be served and then stay there as long as they could, drinking very slowly indeed, in order to make it a bad night for the pub’s profits. I ordered two half pints of bitter, and was about to be served when the landlady realised that one of them was for George. She said “ I’ll serve an Indian or a Pakistani but not one of those black…………..” She snatched the beer back and we were unable to get a drink. It began to turn a bit nasty, and at one point a glass of beer was emptied over the bar, but we all left peacefully. The pub was closed down a few weeks later.
Thankfully over the years such direct action became less necessary, and more Black and Asian people started to become active in local and international politics, many of them joining the Labour Party, with some involved in smaller and more hard-line groups.
George always spent part of his spare time in strictly political campaigns. He devoted just as much time in assisting individual people to gain the treatment they were entitled to expect from the police, the education system, and in their places of work. Although the majority of these people were from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, India, Pakistanor Africa, he was also instrumental in assisting many white people to gain their rights.
He was the prime founder member of the Afro-Caribbean Centre (ACNA), formed in 1971 by a number of black organisations, eventually securing permanent premises in Hungerhill Road, Nottingham, opening as a community centre and social club in 1978. He acted as Company Secretary until few years ago, and was an active Director until he died. The ACNA Centre stands as part of his legacy.
When British Governments passed various Immigration Acts, it was clear that many people would need help in dealing with all the problems they caused. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people have been helped by him to resist this new type of discrimination. Whenever a Jamaican had a relative who was refused a visa to come to Britain, and came to George for help, just as long as he knew they were telling him the truth about their circumstances, he would advise them about any grounds on which they could appeal. I cannot remember a time when any of these cases which went to appeal with his help were turned down.
I am proud to have been married to a man who was so generous with his time, and who fought hard for the rights of all communities. He had both Jamaican and British citizenship, and could move freely and successfully in both societies. I went to Jamaica with him four times over the past thirty years. To see the respect he was afforded when in Jamaica was amazing. So many people in Spanish Town, Kingston and beyond knew him, and those who didn’t would never guess from the way he walked and talked, spoke and listened, that during his life he had so spent much more time in England than he did in Jamaica. Wherever he went people treated him in line with one of his favourite expressions – respect and dignity.
He was not a religious man, but he had strong moral compass. He never forgot his roots. It was a privilege to be part of his life.
Jill Westby September 24, 2013
He died on September 9, 2013. He is survived by his second wife, Jill, whom he married in 1982; 4 children, 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren from his first marriage to Barbara Florence Poole in 1949; and 4 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren from a previous relationship with Lilian Elisabeth Willis during the time he was stationed in Devon.
Thank you for viewing my blog!
[This obituary was written by my aunt Jill, about her husband George. It was published in The Guardian on November 4, 2013.]
Link to on-line version
George Powe moved to Nottingham in 1971 and was later elected as a Labour member to the county councilMy husband George Powe, born in Kingston, Jamaica, volunteered to join the RAF in 1944, when he was only 17. Trained in radar, he was stationed mainly in Devon and Cornwall. George, who has died aged 87, went back to Jamaica in 1948 when he was demobbed, but returned to Britain within a few months and stayed for the rest of his life.In the 40s he experienced widespread racial discrimination, initially in London, and fought against it, joining the Communist party, probably the most active group promoting the rights of disadvantaged and exploited people at that time. He later joined the Labour party, and in 1963 was elected as a Labour district councillor in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. He moved to Nottingham in 1971, and was later elected as a Labour member of Nottinghamshire county council.For most of his working life George was an electrician; but in the 70s he retrained and became a maths teacher, taking early retirement in 1983. He divided his spare time between political campaigns and in helping people to be treated as they were entitled to be by the police, education system and in places of work. He played a leading role in setting up the Afro-Caribbean Centre (ACNA), Nottingham, opened in 1978 as a community centre and social club, and until a few years ago acted as its company secretary.The Immigration Acts of the 1980s threw up many problems for those from ethnic minorities. George helped many hundreds of people, often when a relative was refused a visa to visit Britain. I cannot remember when any cases that went to appeal with his help were turned down. Having both Jamaican and British citizenship, he moved freely and successfully in both societies. He never forgot his roots. He was not religious, but had a strong morality.I met him in 1962, through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and we married in 1982. He is survived by me; by four children, Malcolm, Daphne, Desmond and Cynthia, from his first marriage, to Barbara Poole, which ended in divorce; and by seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His daughter Susan, from an earlier relationship with Lilian Willis, died in 1982.Thank you for viewing my blog!
Our heart is helping those in foster care is one of care and prevention. Sometimes kids enter the foster care system from either domestic violence or sexual abuse situations. They are without their families and often split up from their siblings. As kids mature, there are less and less homes available for them, so they end up in facilities that were created for teen offenders, not kids without a home. We institutionalize our children and leave them in homes where further abuse and neglect can happen. But there are bright spots in the foster care system – organizations like CASA advocate on behalf of the child and provide the stability and care most of the children don’t get otherwise. Our hope is that if we can affect kids in foster care we can not only stop generational domestic violence, but create safe places so kids don’t runaway and become susceptible to traffickers and other predators. So much in the cycle of violence, abuse and neglect could be ended if we had better foster care with more loving homes ready to take in one or two children and stick it out with them. Currently only 3% of those in foster care go to college. If we had mentors in the foster care system, people to engage and stay with a teen, to be there for them and provide the stability of an adult in their life, we could increase that number!
How does that relate to clothes and cowboy boots? One of the biggest ways to fight the stigma for kids in foster care is to help them experience normal activities other kids don’t have to think about. Teens in foster care are given a $90 stipend for clothes when they are 13 or 14. That’s it! After that the teen better hope someone in the house left behind clothes or they go through high school with one outfit or don’t go at all. By providing clothing to The Hanger we are giving high schoolers a way to build their wardrobe and hopefully stay in school.
It’s the little things that we can do. If being able to get a prom dress means a girl will get to experience that night and feel a bit more like her friends (who never have a consideration for new clothes, shoes, etc. because of their home situation) that is incredible. It is a step – a small but vital step.
Join us in coming alongside those in foster care. Donate here.
Rising inequality translates to rising extreme poverty. The numbers and percent of population living in extreme poverty is going up.
Better off as a Refugee? Civil Status as a Determinant of Public Health Outcome (Developing Countries, 1998-2013), Presentation at the European Public Health Conference, Brussels, 13-16 November 2013 [free full-text via European Journal of Public Health]
Health Changes of Refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia: Role of Residence Status and Experienced Living Difficulties in the Resettlement Process, Presentation at the European Public Health Conference, Brussels, 13-16 November 2013 [free full-text via European Journal of Public Health]
"Brief Mental Health Interventions in Conflict and Emergency Settings: An Overview of Four Medecins Sans Frontieres-France Programs," Conflict and Health 7:23 (Nov. 2013) [open access text]
"Counselling in Humanitarian Settings: A Retrospective Analysis of 18 Individual-focused Non-specialised Counselling Programmes," Conflict and Health 7:19 (Sept. 2013) [open access text]
"A Narrative Synthesis of the Impact of Primary Health Care Delivery Models for Refugees in Resettlement Countries on Access, Quality and Coordination," International Journal for Equity in Health 12:88 (Nov. 2013) [open access text]
UNHCR’s Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies: Policy and Guidance 2013 (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [text]
- Updates the 2011 version. "The Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies Policy and Guidance will remain valid until 2020 . The essential medicines and medical supplies lists will be updated biennially, with the next update in 2015."
Climate Change, Migration and Legal Protection, Online Seminar, 27 and 28 November 2013 [info]
- Register for one of the days, based on your time zone.
Addressing the Plight of Environmental Migrants through African Union and ECOWAS Community Laws: A Case for Climate Justice (Ahmadu Bello University, Feb. 2012; posted Oct. 2013) [text]
Climate Change and Displacement: Protecting Whom, Protecting How? (PHAP, June 2013) [text]
"Colères des temps et réfugiés climatiques: pour une approche sociologique," VertigO (Oct. 2013) [full-text]
Dispersing the Myths Surrounding Climate Induced Migration (International Migration Institute, Sept. 2013) [access]
Finding Land Solutions to Climate Displacement: A Challenge Like Few Others (Displacement Solutions, Oct. 2013) [access]
"Pacific Environmental Migration in a Warming World: Is There an Obligation Beyond State Borders?," Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, vol. 14 (2012-2013) [full-text]
The Peninsula Principles on Climate Displacement within States (Displacement Solutions, Sept. 2013) [access]
- These Principles were drafted back in Sept. 2013; follow the link to view an earlier post about them. For more information, view this recent video explaining why they are needed; see also photos of the drafting process.
Reality Check: The Human Cost of Climate Change (RI Blog, Oct. 2013) [text]
Relocation in the Pacific, Sydney, 12 Aug. 2013 [text]
- Workshop report.
Taking Responsibility for Climate Change-related Displacement: Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Proportionality of Expelling 'Climate Refugees', Paper presented at 8th Uppsala Forum Workshop on Global Climate Change, "Dealing with Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Loss, Damage, Adaptation and Social Justice," Uppsala, Sweden, 23 Sept. 2013 [text]
Tagged Publications and Events & Opportunities.
Refugee Watch: A South Asian Journal on Forced Migration [info]
- Submissions accepted on an ongoing basis; final deadline for inclusion in vol. 42 (July 2014) is 31 March 2014.
EASO Newsletters (Sept. 2013) (Oct. 2013)
- News from the European Asylum Support Office.
Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter, no. 42 (Nov. 2013) [full-text]
- News and information for refugee legal aid providers.
Field Exchange, no. 46 (Sept. 2013) [full-text]
- Special issue focusing on urban food security & nutrition.
Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, vol. 29, no. 1 (2013) [open access]
- Special focus on technology; also includes several articles on refugees in Canada, one on a literacy programme for refugee youth in the U.S., two analyses of asylum/refugee policy through a religious prism, and a workshop report on "Migration and Violence: Lessons from Colombia for the Americas."
The Researcher, vol. 8, no. 2 (Oct. 2013) [full-text via Refworld]
- Includes articles on refugee legal advice in Ireland, Sudan, Hindus in Pakistan, sexual orientation claims in the UK, and country of origin information resources.
Tagged Periodicals and Events & Opportunities.
Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement, and Treatment, Webinar, 11 December 2013 [info]
- Free event but registration required.
10th Annual Immigration Law & Policy Conference, Washington, DC, 31 Oct. 2013 [info]
- Follow link for video.
Advocates for Human Rights: 2013 Annual Asylum Conference, Minneapolis, MN, 8 Nov. 2013 [info]
- Follow link for programme and speaker materials on alternative forms of relief, gender-based asylum claims, children's asylum claims, LGBTI claims, working with torture survivors, social group, and more.
Bordering on Failure: Canada-U.S. Border Policy and the Politics of Refugee Exclusion (Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, Nov. 2013) [text]
- See also the HIRC blog.
Will Filipinos be Granted Temporary Protected Status in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan? (Immigration Impact, Nov. 2013) [text via ImmigrationProf Blog]
Tagged Publications and Events & Opportunities.
Asylum Seeker and Refugee Policy in Australia under the Abbott Government (e-International Relations, Oct. 2013) [text]
"Asylum Seekers," Chapter in Mapping Social Cohesion 2013 (Scanlon Foundation, 2013) [text]
- Scroll to p. 40.
"The Case of Christmas Island: How International Law Affects the Australian-Malaysian Refugee Deal," Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs, vol. 2, no. 2 (2013) [full-text]
"The Dream Boat," New York Times Magazine, 17 Nov. 2013 [text]
- First-hand account by an undercover journalist and a photographer who posed as asylum-seekers to document what people go through on the arduous boat journey from Indonesia to Australia.
Outsourcing Refugee Policy: The Australia-Indonesia 'People Swap' (The Conversation, Nov. 2013) [text]
A Return to Temporary Protection Visas? (FlagPost, Nov. 2013) [text]
Will the New Government Continue to Spend Overseas Aid Money on Australia’s Own Asylum Seeker Policies? (Human Rights Law Centre, Nov. 2013) [text]
Law's Borders: Challenging Assumptions about Refugee Resettlement, Webinar, 6 November 2013 [info]
- Online workshop with research presented that "challenges the assumption that resettlement is merely a voluntary complement to Canada's refugee protection regime."
Checklist on Selection, Pre-arrival, Reception and Integration Services for Countries Considering the Establishment of Resettlement Programmes (UNHCR Central Europe, Oct. 2013) [text]
The Labour Market Integration of Resettled Refugees, PDES/2013/16 (UNHCR, Nov. 2013) [text]
Emergency Resettlement Explained: The Dutch Experience, The Hague, 3 Oct. 2013 [info]
- Follow link for programme and presentations.
"Is Resettlement in a Western Country the Most Viable Solution for Protracted Refugee Situations?," POLIS Journal, vol. 9 (Summer 2013) [full-text]
UNHCR Global Resettlement Statistical Report 2012 (UNHCR, Oct. 2013) [text]
- "This report summarizes the resettlement activities of UNHCR Ofﬁces worldwide in 2012." See also this Resettlement Factsheet and FAQ.
"Update: The Response to the Crisis in Syria," European Resettlement Network Newsletter, no. 3 (Nov. 2013) [text]
- Scroll to p. 2; includes table listing countries and their humanitarian admission/resettlement pledges. See also, more generally, the ERN's "Refugee Arrivals in Europe" page, which tracks refugees that have been resettled, and this EU Resettlement Fact Sheet.
Tagged Events & Opportunities, Publications and Web Sites/Tools.
Asylum, Refugees, and IDPs in Russia: Challenges to Social Cohesion, CARIM-East Explanatory Note 13/117 (Migration Policy Centre, Sept. 2013) [text]
"A Beliefs-based Strategy to Prepare Social Workers for Educational Practices with Asylum Seekers," Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 89 (Oct. 2013) [open access]
- Study undertaken with refugees in Luxembourg.
Immigration Bill 2013: Parliamentary Briefing House of Commons Second Reading (UNHCR, Oct. 2013) [text]
The Integration of Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and IDPs in the Russian Federation, CARIM-East Explanatory Note 13/119 (Migration Policy Centre, Sept. 2013) [text]
Living Experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK (Weeks Centre for Social & Policy Research, Sept. 2013) [text]
"Refugees and Rescue: The Ambivalence of Danish Holocaust History," Chapter in Civil Society and the Holocaust: International Perspectives on Resistance and Rescue (Humanity in Action Press, 2013) [text]
- Scroll to p. 176. See also related news story.
Regional Variations in Attitudes towards Refugees: Evidence from Great Britain, Discussion Paper, no. 7647 (IZA, Sept. 2013) [text]
Pushed Back: Systematic Human Rights Violations against Refugees in the Aegean Sea and at the Greek-Turkish Land Border (Pro Asyl, Nov. 2013) [info]
- New report to be launched on 7 Nov. 2013.
- Regional Focus: Europe (General)
I am going to be politically incorrect and use real names, because these are real people.
Jonah is an 8 year old from Samburu country, who came here on a mission flight in a desperate attempt to save his life. He has tuberculosis of the spine. TB is treatable, and his caretaker who came coughing out the disease is much better. But Jonah's spine was perilously bent, his nerves stretched, his blood vessels compromised. Drs. Muchiri and Mara planned his surgery while our team initiated TB treatment and nutritional support. His first surgery was aborted when his blood pressure dropped, his second allowed most of the infection to be drained out but was aborted when his heart stopped temporarily, and the third finally allowed him to have his spine stabilized. His little brain took a hit, but over the last week he's been opening his eyes and moving his hands. Today I transferred him out of the ICU. Small victories. A recovery would be a miracle. But we can ask for a miracle. I have learned only one word of Samburu: "Suba!" which I say loudly many times a day hoping for a response.
Dr. Mike Mara is pulling for this kid with skills, funds, and prayer, and his hope is inspiring. Here he is greeting Jonah last week in ICU post-op, along with Jonah's little Samburu friend with a hip infection who came on the same plane.
Back home, the village women held a fundraiser to contribute to his care.
Please pray for Jonah.
And please pray for Vincent, who we believe has the same disease. Only he is 15, and his was even more advanced than Jonah's by the time he came. This is his spine MRI courtesy of Dr. Sarah Gessner. Note the folding bend in the top right. It should not be there. His spinal cord is crimped, and he is paralyzed.
Vincent was a normal kid for many years. He had some prolonged illness when he was 4, but eventually ended up on TB meds. Within two months he was so much better that his parents thought that was enough. But TB requires prolonged treatment. It wasn't enough. Vincent's mother began to notice a hump in his back when he was in 6th grade. By 7th grade, his legs were getting weaker. By 8th grade, he could only walk with a stick to prop up his dragging limbs. By 9th grade, he had to go to school in a wheel chair. By August this year, his paralysis and time in the wheel chair forced him to drop out of school. By October, his hips and legs were eroding as he stayed too long unable to move. His mother took him to the best hospital around, which said there was nothing to be done, unless she wanted to try coming to Kijabe. She went home for two days to organize and ponder her terrible choice: let her son die, or travel across the country with him leaving her other four younger kids to depend upon the kindness of neighbors for survival.
She came to Kijabe, where Vincent's horrific wounds were assessed by two surgical services and found to be incurable, particularly in view of his sullen withdrawal. We found him on our ward, reeking, with thick wool blankets pulled over his head. What teenager wouldn't be depressed to be paralyzed, with his body decaying around him? My colleague and I are both mothers of boys this age. We decided to ask for another miracle. To treat his depression and malnutrition, to clean his wounds and see if there was any spark of hope left in his heart. Today he nearly died. His wounds are so infected we had to put him on a course of antibiotics that will cost about $600. The odds of his survival are slim.
But just when it seemed prudent to give up, to not prolong suffering . . a flock of Australian nurses appeared in his room today. Teaching wound care. Thoroughly debriding and cleaning.
What are the odds that these angels would miraculously materialize at this moment?
So we have not yet given up hope. But hope is ethereal, easily vaporized in the hard reality of Vincent's life. Please pray for him to choose to live. Please pray for us to witness the power of God bringing impossible healing in this boy.
Sometimes I have to admit that I hesitate to hope. Hesitate to ask for prayer for two boys who may not be able to breathe much longer, let alone sit, or walk. Hesitate to draw attention to two cases that will most likely end in sorrow, as if that would make God look bad. So I can only say that while they are in my care we will do our best to give space for God to work, to speak words of truth about their worth, to trust that whether God heals them on earth or in death they will be eternally running in glory.
For seven hours yesterday, I stared at a computer screen, squirmed in my chair, tried to block out the incessant clicking of neighboring keyboards - and answered medical questions at the incessant rate of one per minute. I know a lot of medicine. I answered questions ranging from rabies to rashes to radiology, from newborns to geriatrics, from psychiatry to sarcoidosis. And by the end, I was spent.
But today, I want to take a moment to give thanks.
I'm thankful I was healthy, focused, rested, well-fed.
I'm thankful there is an international computerized testing center in Nairobi.
I'm thankful for the prayers of many friends.
And on the way home I saw a spectacular rainbow, reminding me of God's covenant promises, of His love and faithfulness. And it made this little exam pale in comparison...
A few emails and comments have alerted me to the fact that I often fail to give follow-ups after asking for prayer. So here are the answers to a couple questions today, and some bonus points as well: 1. Scott lived through the strenuous and stressful exam. He won't know if he passed for two more months. It was exhausting. Thanks for praying.
2. More importantly, Dr. Travis Johnson finished all his chemo and last week he had the great news of a clear CT scan. We are so thankful for the flood of prayers that carried his family through the last six months of nausea, weakness, and the stark reality of risk. He is now a cancer survivor, which means for the next five years he will be closely monitored. But all is well.
3. Our Burundi Team finally arrived in Kibuye last weekend. After two years working together in Kenya, meeting with WHM and deciding on Burundi, applying, raising support, packing containers, speaking, traveling, then nearly a year together in France for French study and three months in another area of Burundi for Kirundi study . . . drumroll . . . they have moved into the village where they will staff a hospital and teach medical students. Do pray for them to establish strong relationships and healthy boundaries as they work on house construction supervision, and plan to begin full time medical work in January. Meanwhile the Bonds are studying French and recruiting for the Bujumbura branch of this work.
4. Caleb continues to need healing for his knee injury, but with admirable spirit plows on. He has to pass a swimming exam today which with enough tape and pain tolerance he hopes he can do. Luke has applications in to about a dozen or more med schools, so you can pray for God's provision and guidance in that process.
5. Our South Sudan Team is dispersing for rest and home ministry soon, and we continue to pray that the Massos will have the support they need to return in January, and that God will raise up new leaders and new team members to bless the people of Mundri.
6. New team members on the Bundi team have survived a disease-ridden first couple of months, and eagerly await the next influx of colleagues. The spiritual and physical battles there never let up. Pat in Fort Portal could not get travel visas to the US for the two young orphan girls she has guardianship of so needs prayer for wisdom and perseverance as she faithfully continues to serve without the benefit of that break.
7. Josh and Anna Dickenson were wed, and true love is in the air elsewhere, so keep tuned for more announcements.
8. Bethany agreed to RVA's request that she extend her counseling ministry from 3 months to 2 years, hooray. The Maras are hosting a team of photographers to connect the church to the work of Kijabe hospital, and working through difficult issues with inadequate staff in the orthopedic department.
9. In Nairobi, our team continues to reach out to the community accused of the Westgate attack and the community of the victims. This team is focused on language learning right now and could use prayer for Swahili to flow.
10. To make a complete top ten, we thank God for the spiritual hunger among students here at RVA and especially our own. And we are thankful for fellowship and community in spite of demanding, challenging, unending work at Kijabe Hospital.
There were a few good comments on my Guardian piece the other week that are worth highlighting.
One of the most most important points is that when private schools get the same results as public schools for a fraction of the cost, they are still getting woefully bad, unacceptably poor learning outcomes.
Suvojit and Heather raise the issue that results are only going to be comparable when teacher effort can substitute for training - this is possible at lower grades but likely to get more difficult at higher grades with older children and more difficult material.
But neither of these for me damage the case for directly supporting private primary schools if they are still doing the same job substantially cheaper.
A criticism that might do this is one that Anurag Behar (CEO of the Azim Premji Foundation, a leading organisation on education research) makes in a Mint column, which strikes at the heart of the private school business model. His argument is that private school teachers only accept such low wages because they are "queueing" for a government teacher job.
It’s clear that the salaries of teachers in most such private schools are very low, bordering on the exploitative. The reasons why they get teachers at these salaries are fairly simple. Most of those who join private schools as teachers are those who are waiting and trying to join government schools. Since recruitment of government teachers has its own pace and scale (though it has become “cleaner” in many states), many keep waiting and trying for years, and it’s this lot that largely feeds the private schools. Eventually of those who don’t make it to the government system, many leave teaching to do other things, which is not surprising, given their salaries.One reason to doubt this story is that if those private school teachers are unqualified then they aren't eligible for a government teacher job. But I'm open to persuasion if there is any data here?
Good morning friend,In The RoundWell my 30th birthday has not gotten off the way I planned. Early this morning I resigned from my job for a series of reasons it's not worth getting into. One thing I can say is that I have total peace in my decision.
Over the weekend D and I took a road trip to Indianapolis, along the way we stopped for a Bebo Norman, Sara Groves, Andrew Peterson concert. It was a very low-key setting, with them singing at the front of a church.
I sat in the front row of this acoustic worship service and felt God for the first time in a long time. I know he's been trying to get my attention, but most of my life has been just surviving, getting through, trying to stay a step ahead, my faith on the back burner. And I knew it wasn't right, but I felt stuck where I was and it was easier to just press on then stop and figure it out. In the last few months I've become someone I don't like, someone who is angry and inconsistent and aggressive - and I am none of those things.
At the concert Sara did Painting Pictures of Egypt, which has become a life song for me. It is the story of the Israelites and their struggle to turn Egypt into a place of luxury and security, which it wasn't, versus trusting that God had something better for them and would not leave them in the desert. In church Friday night, after discussing with D if this leaving was feasible for us and listening to Sara's voice sing this song of promise and hope and trust I knew I had to leave - I never thought it would go down like this, but today I am clinging to God's promise that He will be faithful through this desert IF I have the faith and patience to trust Him.
So, I am asking for a renewal of my faith, to be made whole and for some how this armor around my heart to just be broken. I want to feel God's presence again, I want to sit with Him and know that He is good and that my life is His.
Here is to the journey.
Do you have one minute to take a simple, five question survey about a new jewelry line that is starting? This line is different because every piece is made by women affected by injustice. We work with organizations around the world to bring fair-wages and opportunities to women. The goal is to see every woman wearing high-quality jewelry made with a purpose. We are connecting women around the world through jewelry that brings beauty to one woman while ensuring dignity, opportunity and equality to another.
It's a five question survey, but would do a lot towards helping this new line get off the ground. Also, if you could forward this to your friends, we would love all the input we can get!
image creditI found a new idea for my journal. I love finding new ways to document what is going on with me right now. I have journaled since I was a teenager and it is a way for me to process, to release, to dream and to remember.
If I don't process what is going on it will fester and settle. I can tell the times I don't journal, my mood changes, I am tired and more irritable.
I think Lord Byron said it best...