We discovered this poem that our friend, Mary Wallace, posted on facebook this morning. It's beautiful and well worth the read. By Naomi Shihab, it's entitled "Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal. "
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used--
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag--
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers--
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands--
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.
We recently finished a short film telling the story of Kathy Rosales. She's a beautiful girl raised in the poor community near Guatemala City's garbage dump. She had little hope of escaping a life of poverty. But through an organization called Potter's House, that serves these "Treasures," she was rescued. An American family sponsored her years ago and we just found out today that she has been accepted into Harding College in Arkansas for the fall semester. Potter's House is an amazing organization.
Here's a letter from the Director of Potter's House, Hector Rivas.
With much joy and gratitude in our hearts we want to share with you great news! Our Treasure Kathy Rosales received the Walton Scholarship to study at Harding University in the USA. She will continue with us until August when she will have to leave to study in Arkansas. We are working hard to prepare her for this great blessing.
We are grateful beyond words. It is amazing to see how God really lift the needy from the garbage dump and sets them among princes.
“He stoops to look down on heaven and on earth. He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people!” Psalm 113:6-8
Thank you so much dear friends, because throughout the years you have contributed to the transformation that is taking place in Kathy today. You have impacted her life, her family and many other Treasures. God bless you for being good stewards of God’s blessings and being His instrument to show the Treasures that He really care about them.
When I travel and film I rarely have time in the midst of the often crazy and exhausting schedule to reflect on my thoughts and experiences. Here on the fight home seems like the appropriate moment. Nothing like being five miles in the air to give a person a sufficient sense of detachment, enough to just reflect.
This trip was one of those all-of-a-sudden moments that seemed to come from nowhere. I had little thought or desire to travel to China this year. But when my friend Mike called and extended an invitation to travel with him, it seemed like an experience I had to have.
As a filmmaker, I produce primarily documentaries. Simple stories, mostly, about people that are engaged in the complex process of changing the world. Not for everybody. Sometimes for just one. Or sometimes just for the few that would never be missed if they suddenly vanished from the world. Those are the stories I like to capture most. And this trip was no exception.
The least and the forgotten of this world are often the greatest and most memorable.
Two weeks ago my plane landed in Shanghai. As I made my way to the baggage claim, I was amused to hear traditional western Christmas songs, familiar ones that were made even more fun by Chinese vocalists’ rendering of the lyrics. Jingle Bells had a one-horse open “sleeeee.” And my favorite Sound of Music tune, Edelweiss, was made much more merry as “Adelwass.”
I was in China to film a documentary we’re calling, The Finding Place (our current working title). This film will feature several stories about adoption as we follow families down the various avenues of the adoption journey. In addition, we were to spend five days at Living Hope International’s Training center filming their loving support of children that live at their facility.
One of the families we are featuring in The Finding Place is the Green family, a family we knew nothing about until four weeks ago. We stumbled on their story on the internet and were blown away to find out that they had adopted five special needs children from China and were in the process of adopting 2 more. Before we knew it, my wife Kathi and I were on a plane to Utah to begin the pre-trip filming for their next adoption. To say this family is extraordinary is an understatement, although it seems they see themselves as quite the opposite.
With three of their own children already, Jeremy and Christianne have somehow made space for five adopted children – and two more on the way. Again, all of them having special needs. Too many stories to tell right now. But the highlight of the trip was getting the best hugs I’ve ever gotten from their youngest, Sophie. Sophie has no arms.
One might wonder how these parents have enough love to go around. Their answer: “With every additional child, love isn’t just added, it’s multiplied.” I like that.
After three days of non-stop filming in a home brimming with love, Kathi and I headed home with barely enough time for me to get ready for the trek to China.
Once in Shanghai, China, we hit the ground running, first to spend time with the Greens as they took their oldest adopted daughter, Graci, to spend time with the foster family that took her in at age five. Graci was left at a bus station by her parents at age 5. But it’s not what you might think. Graci had a pulmonary respiratory problem that would have proven fatal unless she had an expensive surgery. This fact weighing heavily on her biological parents, they decided to leave her with a note explaining that they hoped she could be adopted by a family with the means to save her life.
We returned to this place, the Finding Place, as it is called in the adoption world. We filmed something that I think will prove to be an extraordinary moment in the final film.
Our time with Graci’s “China Mom and Dad,” as they are called, proved to be a love fest and a love feast. I remember sitting down for dinner and counting 32 different dishes on the oversized lazy-Susan. It was fascinating to see two sets of parents from two different parts of the world celebrating the opportunity they have to love a beautiful little girl and invest in her life. She lived with her China parents from age 4-9, forming a bond that Jeremy and Christianne not only appreciate, but celebrate.
The main purpose for the Green’s trip was to adopt and bring home a new daughter named Cali. This event is called the “Gotcha Day.” We traveled to a rather bland government office in Xi’an for a moment that was anything but bland. I’m certain God smiled as he observed. Maybe shed a tear. Adoption. One family opening their hearts and lives to a child desperately wanting what every child deserves – a family. I readied myself in the hall to film Cali as she entered the room. She’s 12 and due to spina bifida is in a wheel chair. There she was, this sweet little girl about to cross the threshold to a world where nothing will be the same, especially true now that she will bear the last name of Green and will instantly gain eight brothers and sisters. I thought, “if she only knew what’s in store...”
The simplicity of the meeting of this new daughter and her new family belied the significance of the moment. She seemed amused by the love and attention being showered on her and was seemingly aware that this was the moment in which she would say goodbye to her former world.
A couple days later we filmed the family swimming in the indoor pool at the hotel, then filmed a bit of their goodnight ritual. Jeremy and Christianne sang to Cali as she was tucked in, “Who’s my little angel,” and Cali, in the sweetest little voice, singing some of her first English words responded back, “I’m your little angel.”
In the next post I will write about our experience at the Living Hope International orphanage in Beijing.
To be continued.
By Eve Ensler, Reader Supported News
21 August 12
Dear Todd Akin,
I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.
I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.
Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.
As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking "off the cuff."
Clarification. You didn't make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.
You used the expression "legitimate" rape as if to imply there were such a thing as "illegitimate" rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.
When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only "forcible" rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren't forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped -- intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like "forcible" and "legitimate" is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.
Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn't get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a "legitimate" rape.
Here's what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body -- the most personal, sacred, private part of your body -- and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger's sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can't get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.
Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.
I don't know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.
I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.
I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.
Why don't you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.
And by the way you've just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.
EVE ENSLER is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and activist. She is the award-winning author of The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Eve's newest work, I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, was released February 2010 in book form by Random House and made The New York Times Best Seller list. The book was workshopped in July, 2010 at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, moving towards an Off-Broadway production. She is also the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised over 80 million dollars. In the summer of 2010, Eve's newest play Here was filmed live by Sky Television in London, UK. Eve’s other plays include Necessary Targets, The Treatment and The Good Body, which she performed on Broadway, followed by a national tour. In 2006, Eve released her book, Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir, and co-edited A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer. Eve’s film credits include an HBO film version of The Vagina Monologues. She also produced the film What I Want My Words to Do To You, which won the Freedom of Expression Award at Sundance and was shown on PBS. She is currently working on a film adaptation of her play Necessary Targets with National Geographic, Independent Features which she will direct. Eve has written numerous articles for Glamour Magazine, Huffington Post, and O Magazine. She has won many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting and an Obie Award.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
I found this article written by Rich Stearns of World Vision to be
Since the very first days of the church, ministering to the poor has been one of its central functions. In Acts 6, when the apostles were overwhelmed by their duties, they instituted the role of deacons to distribute food and care for the poor. This was a pivotal moment in the early church, marking the start of its distinct role to care for those in need.
I often say that World Vision can trace its beginnings back to this moment. When Bob Pierce founded our organization in 1950, he only continued what the apostles began two millennia before.
What is remarkable about this story in Acts 6 is not only that the church launched the world’s first social service organization. What astounds us today is that care for the poor was fertilizer for the growth of the church. The passage concludes, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). The church flourished as a result of being the hands and feet of Christ. The lesson, it seems, is this: Serve the poor; grow the church.
Laura Reinhardt/World Vision Manhattan Bible Church in New York City runs a food pantry for the surrounding neighborhood.
In his fascinating book The Triumph of Christianity, Baylor University sociologist Rodney Stark provides an account of why this was so. Service to the poor, he found, was a major reason why Christianity overtook the Roman Empire in just a few short centuries. One of the most significant factors in the church’s growth was that it operated a massive welfare system for the poor when disease and hunger were constant threats.
This was no ad hoc operation, but a large, official organization. "We have our treasure chest,” church father Tertullian explained. “On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation … to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls of destitute means.”
When two deadly epidemics struck the cities of the empire, the care offered by Christians illustrated the uniqueness of the Christian worldview. The typical response to plague was to flee from victims. “They died with no one to look after them,” wrote one ancient historian. Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, however, described the Christian response during an epidemic: “Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ.”
"So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."
Like their neighbors, Christians died in the plagues, but as Stark notes, pagans saw that far fewer Christians died. The basic nursing care that Christians offered—clean water, food, bathing—would have dramatically increased the survival rates of the small Christian community. Stark says this likely led to the church’s growth, as nonbelieving survivors were attracted to this miracle-working faith. “Because theirs were communities of mercy and self-help,” he concludes, “Christians did have longer, better lives. This was apparent and must have been extremely appealing.”
Service to the poor is like sunshine and fertilizer to church growth. In much of the world today, conditions are not terribly different from those during the Roman era. Many suffer from disease and hunger—and again, Christians are shining lights, attending to their needs. World Vision supports churches that care for the poor around the world.
In Myanmar, where Christians represent a small fraction of the mostly Buddhist population, the church is growing twice as fast as the overall population. Last October, on World Food Day, World Vision staff prayed, fasted, and offered money to help feed Myanmar's 2.5 million food insecure.
This is the extension of the work of those first deacons. If we are a community of love, compassion, and reconciliation—if we really love our neighbors as ourselves—the church will be attractive to its community, drawing people to Christ like bumblebees to flowers.
By Rich Stearns / Published April 2012
By Jake Lynch
Peace journalism is when editors and reporters make choices – about what to report, and how to report it – that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.
If readers and audiences are furnished with such opportunities, but still decide they prefer war to peace, there is nothing more journalism can do about it, while remaining journalism. On the other hand, there is no matching commitment to ensuring a fair hearing for violent responses, if only because they seldom struggle for a place on the news agenda.
How come? To report is to choose. ‘We just report the facts’, journalists say, but ‘the facts’ is a category of practically infinite size. Even in these days of media profusion, that category has to be shrunk to fit into the news. The journalist is a ‘gatekeeper’, allowing some aspects of reality through, to emerge, blinking, into the public eye; and keeping the rest in the dark.
Neither is this a random process. The bits left out are always, or usually, the same bits, or the same sorts of bits. News generally prefers official sources to anyone from the ‘grassroots’; event to process; and a two-sided battle for supremacy as the basic conflict model.
These preferences, or biases, hardened into industry conventions as journalism began to be sold as a mass-produced commodity in consumer societies, and faced pressure to present itself as all-things-to-all-people, capable of being marketed to potential readers, listeners and viewers of all political views and none.
Quoting officials – a category topped by the political leader of one’s own country – is a choice and a preference, but one with a built-in alibi. It was not our ‘fault’ that this person became head of government: s/he just ‘is’. ‘Indexing’, or the familiar journalistic habit of restricting the extent of debate to differences between government and official opposition – ‘elite discord’ – has the same effect, of camouflaging choices as facts.
What about event and process? News that dwells on, say, the details of death and destruction wrought by a bomb, avoids controversy. The device has, indisputably, gone off. There are well-attested casualty figures, from trustworthy sources such as hospitals and the police. What is automatically more controversial is to probe why the bombers did it, what was the process leading up to it, what were their grievances and motivations.
As to dualism, well, when I was a reporter at the BBC, we all realised that a successful career could be based on the following formula: ‘on the one hand… on the other hand… in the end, only time will tell’. To have ‘balance’, to ‘hear both sides’, is a reliable way to insulate oneself against complaints of one-sidedness, or bias.
War Journalism and Its Antidote
There are deep-seated reasons, then, why these are the dominant conventions in journalism, but, taken together, they mean that its framing of public debates over conflict issues is generally on the side of violent responses. It merits the description, ‘war journalism’.
How come? Take the dualism first. If you start to think about a conflict as a tug-of-war between two great adversaries, then any change in their relationship – any movement – can only take place along a single axis. Just as, in tug-of-war, one side gaining a metre means the other side losing a metre, so any new development, in a conflict thus conceived, immediately begs to be assessed in a zero-sum game. Anything that is not, unequivocally, winning, risks being reported as losing. It brings a readymade incentive to step up efforts for victory, or escalate. People involved in conflict ‘talk tough’ – and often ‘act tough’ – as they play to a gallery the media have created.
Remove acts of political violence from context and you leave only further violence as a possible response. This is why there is so little news about peace initiatives – if no underlying causes are visible, there is nothing to ‘fix’. Only in this form of reporting does it make any sense to view ‘terrorism’, for example, as something on which it is possible or sensible to wage ‘war’.
And if you wait, to report on either underlying causes or peace initiatives, until it suits political leaders to discuss or engage with them, you might wait a long time. Stirrings of peace almost invariably begin at lower levels. There is, furthermore, a lever in the hands of governments that no one else has – the ‘legitimate’ use of military force. For all these reasons, the primacy of official sources, coupled with the enduring national orientation of most media, is bound to skew the representation of conflicts in favour of a pronounced receptiveness to the advocacy of violence.
Hence, peace journalism, as a remedial strategy and an attempt to supplement the news conventions to give peace a chance.
· Explores the backgrounds and contexts of conflict formation, presenting causes and options on every side (not just ‘both sides’);
· Gives voice to the views of all rival parties, from all levels;
· Offers creative ideas for conflict resolution, development, peacemaking and peacekeeping;
· Exposes lies, cover-up attempts and culprits on all sides, and reveals excesses committed by, and suffering inflicted on, peoples of all parties;
· Pays attention to peace stories and post-war developments.
Reality and Representation
Peace journalism is more realistic, in the sense of fidelity to a reality that already exists, independently of our knowledge or representation of it. To report violence without background or context is to misrepresent it, since any conflict is, at root, a relationship, of parties setting and pursuing incompatible goals. To omit any discussion of them is a distortion.
At the same time, it acknowledges that there is no one correct version of this reality that everyone will agree upon. We understand the world around us by taking messages and images – including those served up by the news – and slotting them into codes we develop through our lives and carry in our heads. Meaning is not created solely at the point of production, or encoding; no act of representation is complete until it has been received, or decoded. Decoding is something we often do automatically, since so much of what we read, hear and see is familiar. This is what propaganda relies on – establish Saddam Hussein as a ‘bad man’, or ‘weapons of mass destruction’ as a ‘threat’, and it forms a prism, through which all the reality, both subsequent and previous, tends to be viewed.
Journalism is often easy prey for such efforts because it does not generally encourage us to reflect on the choices it is making, for reasons discussed above. The famous US ‘anchor-man’, Walter Cronkite, signed off CBS Evening News every night with the catchphrase, “that’s the way it is”. How it came to be that way would be an interesting conversation, but it is not one in which news is generally keen to engage.
Communications students will recognise the last few paragraphs as a potted version of reception theory. In writing this introduction, I’ve resisted academic sources, because, yes folks, the clichés are true, media scholars often do dress in black (which we won’t hold against them) and chew polysyllables for breakfast (which we might). However it’s worth quoting one famous aphorism coined by a clever and original researcher, Gaye Tuchman: “the acceptance of representational conventions as facticity makes reality vulnerable to manipulation”.
So peace journalism is in favour of truth, as any must be. Of course reporters should report, as truthfully as they can, the facts they encounter; only ask, as well, how they have come to meet these particular facts, and how the facts have come to meet them. If it’s always the same facts, or the same sorts of facts, adopt a policy of seeking out important stories, and important bits of stories, which would otherwise slip out of the news, and devise ways to put them back in. And try to let the rest of us in on the process. Peace journalism is that which abounds in cues and clues to prompt and equip us to ‘negotiate’ our own readings, to open up multiple meanings, to inspect propaganda and other self-serving representations on the outside.
Can journalists actually do this, and do they? Latterly, researchers have set out to gauge the amount of peace journalism that is going on. There is probably no one piece of reporting that exhibits all five of the characteristics listed above, whilst also avoiding demonizing language, labeling and so forth. But distinctions do exist, and they have been measured. Reporting in The Philippines, especially by the country’s main newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, is interesting in providing an effective counter to attempts by the country’s government to import the ‘war on terrorism’ ideology and apply it to a long-running insurgency. The paper I used to work for, the Independent of London, does a lot of peace journalism.
Then of course there are proliferating independent media, now building, through web-based platforms, on traditions long nurtured by alternative newspapers and community radio stations. There is some peace journalism, so there could be more.
Jake Lynch is Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. Before that, he spent nearly twenty years in journalism, including spells as a newsreader and presenter for BBC World television, a Political Correspondent for Sky News and the Sydney Correspondent for the Independent newspaper. He reported on conflicts in the Middle East, South East Asia and South East Europe, as well as countless political and diplomatic meetings and developments in the UK and Europe.
He is the co-author, with Annabel McGoldrick, of Peace Journalism (Hawthorn Press, 2005), and his new book, Debates in Peace Journalism, has just been published by Sydney University Press and TUP – TRANSCEND University Press.
He also co-authored with Johan Galtung and Annabel McGoldrick ‘Reporting Conflict-An Introduction to Peace Journalism,’ also in Spanish, ‘Reporteando Conflictos-Una Introducción al Periodismo de Paz‘ (Ariete, TRANSCEND México, Respuestas para la Paz, 2006).
Some injustices in life make us so incredibly frustrated! We feel helpless and wonder what we can do to make a difference. Fracking is one of those injustices.
We are producing a documentary for a local farm. The owner of the farm called us recently and asked us if we would be open to producing a segment about her brother, Ed. Ed is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from PTSD. A number of years ago he moved to a beautiful parcel of land in northern PA to live in peace.
His peace was shattered when in 2009 Shell Oil Company began fracking on two sides of his property. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a means of natural gas extraction in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are injected under high pressure into a well.
We traveled to Ed’s home in Tioga County, an area of Pennsylvania where fracking is prevalent. The first thing we noticed as we neared his property was the unbelievable number of trucks – tractor trailers, pickups, dump trucks clogging the roads and the dust and grime coating the bucolic town of Wellsboro, near which Ed’s property is located.
Even more devastating is the human toll of this technology. Our hearts broke as Ed told us his story. We feel privileged to have played a small part in getting the word out about fracking and its destruction, not only of the pristine environment of our beautiful state of Pennsylvania, but of the lives of its residents.
There are certain times when it seems for a just a fleeting moment, heaven and earth share a lingering kiss. I experienced one of those “moments” in Haiti last month. I had the privilege to attend and document a wedding of a young Haitian man, now in his 30’s, who was orphaned as a young teenager.
Fortunately for little Boaz, he had been sponsored by Helen Little, a retired woman from North Carolina, when he was just 8 years old.
With both parents gone, she cared for him as one of her own. He now calls her mom. She loves him as her son. She didn’t rescue Boaz from Haiti, but did something far more important. She rescued him in Haiti. Miss Helen helped him gain an education there in his country and this investment has now allowed him to be part of “the new Haiti", as she calls it. The November 25th wedding to his beautiful bride Luni, provides the backdrop for his story to be told.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Miss Helen shows us all how anyone can answer that prayer and bring Heaven to earth for a child needing a touch from God.