Sunday, 9 September 2012


‘For Hope to be credible in the future, it needs to be tangible in the present’ (Robert Sieple)… and this is why I love my job. The dispensing of Hope has been in full swing this week with our mass Screening Day on Monday where around 3500 people passed through our teams to see if we could help them. It was a loooooong day which left my feet pounding, my heart aching and my spirit soaring. For so many, the answer was ‘no’. I am always surprised at the ease with which most receive the ‘no’s’ but this year the no’s felt harder as I realized that these beautiful people weren’t accepting ‘no’ because they were kind and gracious – well perhaps they were that too, but more than that, it dawned on me that their reaction was the result of years of learning that this is how life is – a kind of sick fatalism that has wrapped its ugly fingers around these nations of West Africa. There’s not much point in hoping too much if you’ve been waiting for years to get your dodgy heart fixed or your chronic skin disease cleared up or your leg that broke a few years ago mended… when the answer has always been ‘no’… so they accept another no like they almost didn’t expect anything else. And this breaks my heart. It’s ok – I know it’s not my responsibility to fix the world and it doesn’t weigh me down because there’s a God bigger than me and with more love and compassion than I could ever have who will continue to go to extraordinary lengths to help these people. But it hurts. These people shouldn’t have to live with so many ‘no’s’ – how are they supposed to hope for the future when there is no ounce of tangible hope… right now? So the day left me with a resounding cry in my heart – not just for Guinea, but for the World – for us all to be doing our part to bring Hope. Whether that’s helping someone down the road or restoring a relationship or working in a floating Hospital. It’s up to us to be doing it. We need to be the face of tangible hope. Let’s do it, people!

‘When a poor person dies of hunger it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed… even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own…’ Mother Theresa

But oh, it looks so good to see hope in the eyes of those who have waited for so long; the ones who got the ‘yes’s’. I wish I could somehow bottle up the sights and emotions found as the ship becomes a Hospital again and erupts into the first day of surgery. Only 2 days previously, the now patients had no idea what was about to happen and now find themselves being tucked up into our ward beds being prepared for surgery. I always wonder what on earth is going through their heads – how it feels to climb the gangway of a big white ship and enter the freezer like conditions of the a/c. The first to walk up the ‘Hallway of Hope’ from the Ward to the Operating rooms were 3 kids with cleft lips, a man with a large lump on his forehead and a couple of guys with hernias. A few hours later, they were all fixed. Tangible Hope. I love it.

But Hope isn’t all about ‘us’ helping ‘them’. Hope is about these beautiful people showing me more about what it is to love, to keep going when life is tough, to smile with a depth of joy and gratitude that I have never seen anywhere else in the world. It’s about them sharing the wisdom that comes with living life in a country like this and all it has been through. This puts hope in my heart. When people are real and I realize again that life is so much richer than I thought. That life is about relationships and about us all helping each other to become more of who we were made to be. That life is about helping each other get rid of the stuff that gets in the way of us living in the freedom that we were created to live in. This is what fills me with hope and as much as I look forward to all the ways we can be dispensers of hope these next 9 months, I look forward to all the things that I am going to learn too. Teach me sweet Africa, I need you so much.

May you too know that tangible hope in all you long for. Love always, KWW