Archives for the month of: May, 2008
Peacekeepers ‘abusing children’

By Adam Mynott
BBC News, Ivory Coast

Children as young as six are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers, says a leading UK charity.

Children in post-conflict areas are being abused by the very people drafted into such zones to help look after them, says Save the Children.

The most shocking aspect of this abuse is that most of it goes unreported and unpunished, a new report argues, with children too scared to speak out.

The UN has said it welcomes the report, which it will study closely.

A 13-year-old girl described to the BBC how 10 UN peacekeepers gang-raped her in a field near her Ivory Coast home, and left her bleeding, trembling and vomiting on the ground.

No action has been taken against the soldiers.

No support

The report also found that aid workers have been sexually abusing boys and girls.

Heather Kerr, Save the Children’s Ivory Coast country director, says little is being done to support the victims.

“It’s a minority of people but they are using their power to sexually exploit children and children that don’t have the voice to report about this.

“They are suffering sexual exploitation and abuse in silence.”

Save the Children says the international community has promised a policy of zero-tolerance to child sexual abuse, but that this is not being followed up by action on the ground.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/in_depth/7420798.stm

Published: 2008/05/26 23:11:30 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

So I’m back to Rumi. I read this poem of his and it just floored me. It’s beautiful.

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less
If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, an ugly metal statue sits where your
spirit should.
When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomons ring.
Don’t give it to some illusion and lose your power,but even if you have,
if you’ve lost all will and control, they come back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents, the Lord’s table.
Expect to see it when you fast, this table spread with other food,
better than the broth of cabbages.

Jan, my roommate got a new puppy.  She is on summer break and thought it’d be a good time to start training him.  It hasn’t even been 24 hours and this thing is exhausting!  Lets just say, if it is any precursor of children to come, then count me out!  At least for a while 🙂  It’s nice to have a dog around.  I would love one but don’t have the time to give to it.  

An afternoon reading Rumi, dancing to Harry, eating strawberries, and making a new friend, has rekindled my love of poetry.  I haven’t written any in a while, but thought I should share some old ones with those of you who are interested.  So, follow this link if you dare.

Today was literally the craziest working day of my life, and by far the best.  Amber and I had a meeting this morning with the Nashville Rescue and Restore Coalition, Law Enforcement Sub-Committee.  It was awesome to see a community of people coming together for the cause of preventing human trafficking here in Nashville.  God really does for you what you cannot do for yourself.  I’m learning that now more than ever.  He also gives you responsibilities and wants you to step up to the plate for them.  Sitting in a room with an FBI agent, Metro Police office, Immigration Attorney, and so on, almost made me laugh.  Why would me of all people be sitting there!  Again, it’s one of those times when I can almost hear God audible telling me…”Shh, pay attention, I’m teaching and preparing you…”  It was awesome.  I’m excited to learn more about the Rescue and Restore Coalition and begin to partner with them to help change some of the TN laws.

So, if that isn’t exciting enough, Amber and I then headed out to the farm to take care of the horses.  An afternoon grooming horses calms the spirit for sure.  I’m really excited about the horse therapy and art therapy programs.  The farm is a perfect place to have these.  God’s really blessed Freedom’s Promise with this couples generosity to offer their cabin, land, and horses.  I look forward to spending a lot of time out there this summer.

I’m getting more and more excited about traveling to Cambodia this summer with Freedom’s Promise.  I changed my school schedule so I will get to go for five weeks.  We will also travel to Laos, and China.  I’m not sure about Thailand, but I assume we will go there as well.  God has already provided some of my funding for the journey and I trust He will supply the rest.  

I’m exhausted for now, but I’ll keep ya’ll updated on whats fast becoming the most amazing/life-changing summer of my life. 

Here she is.  My attempt at oil painting.  It was supposed to be a response to my downhearted feelings about Moldova.  Instead, something beautiful grew.  I suppose there is beauty in sorrow though.  I have no other words.  She speaks for herself…

(Click on the picture to make it bigger….it looks better bigger)

I wanted to update this last night, but my computer wasn’t working.  I’m not sure what brought it on but my heart missed Moldova and all of it’s beautiful babies yesterday.  That trip seems as emotionally distant as it is in time.  I looked through my pictures and remembered the faces and names of all the orphans.    

I wonder how they are.  I wonder if they still live there.  I wonder if they’ve been sold into human trafficking.  I wonder if they’ve joined the mafia.  I wonder if they read the bibles we gave them.  I wonder a lot of things.  I wonder if they feel we’ve abandoned them.  I know we brought them hope, but it was so momentary.  As a Christian I believe I am called to discipleship.  Salvation is the work of the Lord.  Discipleship is always compared to agriculture because it’s a process.  It takes time.  What responsibility do I have to walk with these orphans over an extended period of time?  It’s frustrating because in my head I understand some of the things that they need or that could help them if only someone would devote a sustained period of time.  I could use my art to teach them some sort of craft so they could support themselves.  Someone could teach them the skill of carpentry so they will be able to make money.  There’s so much to be done.  Just because I see this, doesn’t mean I am called to do it.  Or am I?  Is there a responsibility in the revelation?  

So many thoughts…I will leave you with some of my favorite photos. 





 

So this is the newest painting.  It’s a baby.  5in x 15in.  I love her though.  I’m starting to notice some trends in my artwork.  Women and Trees.  There is a beauty and a strength in both that I find fascinating.  I want to paint using more women’s figures.  Ya’ll should be excited about this.  I am.  

God is most surely doing for me what I cannot do for myself these days.  He’s “networking” for me, if you will allow me to use such a corporate word to describe Him.  My dear friend introduced me to an organization called Freedom’s Promise.  They are local to Nashville and work with human trafficking victims.  They are starting a farm on the outskirts of town where they want to use horses as therapy for the victims.  Okay, this alone fascinates me.  But BEYOND that, I contacted the president and asked if I could help this summer.  I told her about my passions for art therapy and it looks like I may help them start some sort of art therapy class.  I’m so excited I can barely write this!  I feel God has really led me lately to the idea of marrying my interest in art and my passion for human trafficking victims.  I’m excited to hopefully get my feet wet with this new ministry.  I’ve been looking for a place to volunteer but hadn’t found anything that blended all my passions.  May seem small to some, but it surely points to the hand of God to me.

Oh I almost thought I would never come to this day!  My first India painting is finally complete!  I think this painting was harder for me than usual because I also used it as a final project for my Theology and the Arts class.  This meant I couldn’t just paint like I usually do.  I had to incorporate the semester’s worth of enlightenment into it.  Never have I been more afraid to paint and never have I been more excited by the outcome.