Archive for June, 2009
Does this make me the Village Voice?
Sitting in Sakila in the late afternoon with Kilimanjaro behind me and the villagers gathered for the afternoon “kahawa” (coffee) time in front of me. I can hear them laughing and joking, talking about the news of the day and getting ready to then go home to dinner. A great time of day here in Sakila.
Kind of a surreal setting. I found a wireless spot about twenty yards away from where they are having coffee. This has been a long week, much was accomplished in many areas. People were here from Tanzania, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, and the USA (Godwin, Eliudi’s son and me). Such vision for what needs to be done among them for their countries, and such courage and lack of fear to continue on with what they are doing (which to most seems impossible).
They are waving at me to say HELLO to you, so…HELLO from your brothers and sisters in Sakila, Tanzania!
On Monday Eliudi and I will leave for South Africa via Nairobi, Kenya, then Johannesburg, and then on to Cape Town. I’m not sure what all is awaiting us, but it is not time to stop now…MBELE! Thanks for your comments and encourgement!
James R. Smith
This is a phrase that’s been part of my conversations for a number of years. I’ve been blessed to have known a number of “great” people classed so according to my defintion of greatness; one singular individual from my personal coterie has been classified as “great and influential” by secular pollsters but the others have passed through this life in relative obscurity.
If you gaze at this picture to the right you’ll notice the man in the light shirt. We met last October while I was touring this elementary school located in a remote village in one of the lesser-known states of India. I do not know his name, a fact I regret admitting to you, but I do know part of his story.
Raised in an affluent family in the state of Kerala which boasts a literacy rate of 98% his privileges included a university education. Yet, he turned his back on lucrative job offers after graduation and chose instead to leave his prosperity and serve the poor children in a distant South India state.
If you look closely you’ll notice his smile. Joy imbues his service and dozens of children are the beneficiaries. In my book this example of sacrificial giving of oneself defines “greatness”.
Sarah A. Smith
From this picture you can’t see the road, but it is there. This the road from the Kilimanjaro Airport. Very near the location of this picture New Hope International Hospital is being built (there will be more pictures later.) Further up the road there is a little village Kikititi, at Kikititi you take the turn to go up the mountain to Sakila. Once we get to the mountain road I know that I am really in Africa. I have tried to imagine how many times I have been up and down this mountain road, and also the things that I have seen on this road. I remember my first time on this road…ask Mike Wood what he thought the first time we turned off the main road into Kikititi on our way to Sakila in 1993. It was an opening into a very new world
This road and this world are now very familiar to me
Now to the home of Eliudi and Mama Helen and the many children that will be all around, and also to many long time friends and their families that I have come to know so well. Back to Sakila, a second home to me for many years now. Once again I thank all of my USA friends who have helped me get back to Sakila, and have supported the projects we have undertaken. It is a dry year this year. The bean crop has failed once again………………..but “life goes on.”
James R. Smith
How would you like to see this sight as you go for a walk in the cool of the evening? On a clear day from the village of Sakila this is the view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
So here is a proposal for all of you adventurous souls. Come with me (us) to Africa and while we are there you can not only work with us on the various projects with www.H4Cinternational.org, but you can also climb Kilimanjaro, go to the Ngoro Ngoro Crater, safari in the Serengeti, or other national parks. I have had the privilege of spending time with young people who have come to Africa to help with the giving of their time and talent, and then combined that with one of these great adventures . Come on……. what’s stopping you? Africa will change you!
James R. Smith
Well, today I turn 50 years old. It’s hard to get around the mindset of actually being 50. When you’re younger and looking forward, 50 seems so old. As I look back I remember the good and the bad, the time well spent and the time wasted. Now with more than half of my life over (unless I live to be over 100!) I look forward and am determined to make the most of the time remaining. For me, apart from my wonderful family, what brings me the most fullfilment is spending time with those the world considers to be the “less fortunate”. For almost 20 years I have been traveling to the Philippines and building relationships with the people of “Smokey Mountain” garbage dump community. As far as I’m concerned they have helped me more than I could ever have helped them. They have taught me the meaning of contentment, the difference between compassion and pity, and how to give out of need.
In an interview not too long ago, Bono told of how he answered someone who asked him, “how can I find God?”, he answered, “spend time with the poor, because that’s where God is.”
My hope is to continue my travels in service to others for as long as this life allows.
Here’s to 50 and another 50!!