A ray of sunshine from Kenya

Kenya Un raggio di sole Mar06 ING rid4.jpg

Comic strip by: Vilfred Moneta

I would like to thank the young people who sent me this letter from Kenya.
A ray of sunshine in this our life of every day.

“Dear Beppe,

We are a group of Italians engaged in a religious mission here in Kenya.  We have written a short article that it might be useful to let you know about. We are sure that you are aware, but here in the north of Kenya almost 3 million people are risking famine and maybe even the total loss of the animals if the next rains fail as previous ones have. It’s strange but it seems that information about Africa does not get through to people in Italy (at least not on the big screen).

Ciao bello”.
Daniele, Beppe e Andrea

“and night came straight away”. I believe this is a poem of Quasimodo. It has become the major motivation of my life here in Chaaria. I’m aware how true it is here in this place, right now when I steal a moment form the hospital routine to write to you.
I hadn’t noticed, but nearly two months have passed. One day at a time, a step at a time, I seem to have covered a great distance and yet at the same time to be in the same place.

From my bedroom I can see dawn breaking. Each morning I turn the alarm off, drat alarm clock – and while staying horizontal I open the curtain at 6:20 am. I even open the window. I like the freshness of the morning as it helps me to wake up. Everything is in shadow peacefully. The cows are asleep. The banana tree is still. Suddenly an orange disk swishes through the banana leaves.

 It seems that this enormous red ball, is there especially for me, to look me in the face and tell me that I’m alive. And that it would be best if I jump out of bed straight away. I can’t understand what is different in the sky, it’s as though it’s about to fall on your head, it’s as though it’s bent over to give you a hug. It’s probably because of the different curvature f the earth at the equator. I’m not bothered. I like to think that it is God who hugs his favourite children: the poor, the suffering who are living here. And that these are the ones He loves the most, not because they are better than the others but because they are poor.

Thus another day begins. First the Mass, to give energy, to find a reason for everything that surrounds us. Or at least it ought to be like that. In reality I confess that I’m so tired that very often I only wake up when the person next to me shakes me to give me the sign of peace.
From that moment on we need to start running. Mother Teresa said: “May everyone who comes to you go away better than they were when they came, happier.” This is what I set out to do every morning. I often don’t manage it.

It’s difficult to explain Chaaria. Because it’s difficult to explain feelings in words. And the feelings are strong and they are contrasting. They are eyes, shouts, smiles, and tears. They are faces, names, and smells.

Chaaria is Glory who doesn’t know why but at the age of 12 has a tumour. It costs too much to operate. – Terrible money! Always the same. It’s too late to find a solution. There’s an extra angel in Heaven now. She’s an angel who is too young to understand, too far away now from her father who cries for her.

Chaaria is Susan who did nothing wrong. She has AIDS. She’s not to blame. It’s just that she was born where she shouldn’t have been. Susan smiled; she always greeted me with her left hand. She even thanked me for taking out a tooth that hurt. She’s not a child but a flower, as sweet as a kiss. She even smiled in the evenings if I went by to touch her hand. But she’s fragile, Susan. The weight of suffering is too heavy on her fragile bones. Susan is a little flame that is getting further and further away. Susan is an angel with a broken wing. She came down to let us understand how marvellously precious is life.

This evening, just as I was about to run from the hospital to come and write to you, a radio was playing that song written by I don’t know who, but it said: “… but if God was one of us…” Exactly, if God were one of us, what would he say to her…?
 I would thank him for the dawn, the almond blossom, the banana trees, the mangos. For the laughter of Makena, Kanana’s legs, Beppe’s smile, and Lorenzo’s voice. Because I breathe. Perhaps I would argue. I would shout in His face, Just like Vecchioni “Now we’re going to do some calculations, me and You, Lord! Why don’t you do something?

In this wavering faith of mine, I’m always more convinced that if God exists, He is here with the poor, with those who suffer. He doesn’t do what I’d like Him to do . He’s not a God magician, who does little miracles just to show you that He can. He’s a God who stands by the last. In fact He stands right at the end of the line. He was there. With Glory. To hold her hand, in silence. I know that.

Certainly there’s so much anger. I don’t know whether the news got to Italy, but here the low rainfall season has brought famine. Of course people of good heart have been active in bringing help to a suffering population. Thus a gentle old lady from New Zealand, the Director of a multinational producing animal feed offered a gift of many hundred weight of dog food “to alleviate the hunger of the children of North Kenya”. That’s great! It’s thanks to constructive initiatives like this that Beppe Grillo can keep his Blog going.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has calculated that it would be enough to have 40,000,000,000 dollars, that is 0.1% of the world Gross Domestic Product to guarantee to everyone in the whole world, basic social services. Each year we spend about 1,000,000,000,000 dollars on armaments, almost half that on publicity, 50,000,000,000 on cigarettes and 11,000,000,000 on ice creams. And about 20,000,000,000 on food for animals. Looking at all this from down here, I don’t feel at all proud to be an inhabitant of this planet.

But I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m sad because of all this, nor discouraged. The only thing is that I’m tired. But I really believe what Frei Betto says is true: “In life all you need for happiness is a bit of bread, some good wine and a great love.” The simple life as Jesus says: Blessed, yes blessed are those with a pure heart. It is simplicity that lets us discover an inner freedom. And I believe that it is this freedom of the heart that we all thirst for. A great friend of mine once said that the poor are a great richness. I believe that is true.

 And then it’s not just about Glory and Susan. It’s just that often (does it happen to you as well?) I spend more time thinking of the shadows than about the bright moments.

I would like to tell you about William, who destroyed a hand while he was working. Gian and I reconstructed William’s hand and yesterday I saw that he can move his thumb again. How great! I could tell you about Kangai, who had a terrible operation and then gave birth to a little girl who will be a fashion model or at least a Nobel laureate. Last week she went home, she gave me a great horrendous beautiful toothless smile. Or about Isidoro, a 5 year old who doesn’t show his real age of 60 years. He jumps for joy when we take him in the car to have a coca cola in the city. He stops me to proudly show off his tortoise that he’s called Brother Moris. But time has run out. I’ll tell you about them another time. Now it’s late and I need to go back to the hospital. Then I’ll have a beer and I’ll go and sleep. Perhaps after singing a couple of songs with Andrea. Drinking songs, or love songs, with the guitar. Just as though we were on holiday.

In a film I heard a harsh phrase that struck me. It went something like this: They will show all these things on the TV News and people will say “how terrible” Then they will pick up their fork and go on eating dinner. Perhaps it’s really like that. But we mustn’t give up. We mustn’t get used to it. Things can change. “the sun arrived even in winter. Night doesn’t exist, just look at the moon.” According to that song of a few years ago. The world can change. We can change the world. We can together. One piece at a time.

I don’t know whether the Lord wanted me to be here to change my piece. I believe that I will try. Certainly, I know I am happy. A great big hug to all.”

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 02:44 PM in | Comments (3)
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There are people whose life means nothing because they rely on people of goodwill for tommorow.
This poem says more than that, but it really captures it.
It'll come obviously,
how? I know not really,
I've one surety,
When it comes, I'll cry.

It's bound to be hard,
I've no doubt, it did.
My tommorow is pain'd
without you, who helpe'd?
Mum's gone, dad too is dead.
This story is real, liv'd.
Look, whoever wants, let's trade;
my fate and his life liv'd.

Posted by: NICHOLAS KIRIMO | November 20, 2006 02:28 PM

super ligao

Posted by: sil tosi | March 29, 2006 06:49 AM

Daniele, Beppe & Andrea

You are the solar energy on this cloudy world.

I'll alway remember all what you guys are doing.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | March 28, 2006 10:15 PM

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