Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Outreach Africa

As I've been mulling over the Outreach Africa group and the Lost Boys, I've been trying to put words into what I was feeling.  I wrote Julie tonight some of my thoughts, and her answer was important to me.  I want to save it here.  I'm moving towards something, but not sure what.  We're meeting up to talk more about what can be done, and somehow...I sense I'll find my answers through writing and words.  In the mess of the questions, sometimes I find my answers.

Excerpt of my email to Julie:

I watched "God Grew Tired Of Us" a few weeks ago. Wow! A few things I'm sensing about the Sudanese refugees (from that movie, and talking with them), and I'd love to know your thoughts at some point.

It seems like what they had back in the Kenya camp gave them a lot of warmth and support and community. But they were missing key survival needs, like stability and food and safety. Here, they have those basic survival things - but they're stripped of that close sense of community and are more isolated. Is that what you find? Or do you not see that as much, since you're offering a community for them through Outreach Africa?

It just seems like seeing any of the refugees as needing our way of life doesn't make ANY sense to me...but that it's about taking all the great stuff about their tribal living, and giving them the basics of Maslow's hierarchy: clean water, ample food, etc.

Excerpt from Julie's Response:

....They have lost the tools of their culture (council of elders to resolve disputes), fellowship, etc. They have food and shelter but are lonely and alone.  My prime directive has always been to validate their worth and to make them feel loved and connected. That is part of what they are all missing across the country.  There are so many, like those in Newport News, who get a little shot of love occasionally but not nearly enough. The rest are ALONE.  They have food and shelter but feel miserable and like they have failed themselves and their families in Africa.  Did you know that before they came they were told that their college education would be free here? What a disappointment!   Some are now saying that they are so disillusioned that they want to go back.  They are emotionally and physically exhausted and I don’t blame them....