Thursday, August 27, 2009

A minute to stop and think...

Dad has recently taken up a new position in Angola. As a family, we've been very lucky with Dad's job. Being in the oil industry has given Dad (and as a extension us) the opportunity to see some absolutely fascinating parts of the world.

Dad's new job is in Angola. He's just arrived home today after being there for his first 6 week stint (which will become 4 weeks from now on). The very first thing he said to me was "life is cheap over there". He didn't mean the cost of living but quite literally life, human life is regarded with very little value. The cost of living is in fact particularly expensive according to him which would explain the sea of slums that exist there.

Now I'm no stranger to what slums are like. Living in Sarawak we saw them on a daily basis. In fact a large open expanse (which was to become a new housing estate) was all that separated our house from a near by slum area. I woke up each morning and could see it from my bedroom window. I've walked through slums, I've played along side the children who live there, I've even preached in slums. But to imagine 1 million people living in such a situation escapes even me. 1 million people??? Its incomprehensible. But that is the sort of situation that exists in Angola (and in so very many other parts of the world unfortunately). Dad has to go out with a guard and a driver for safety. Occasionally he has to drive through a "No Go Zone". Its a slum with over a million people which is avoided by westerners because of the threat of violence. As Dad said, "these people see westerners as rich and they are right, after all we have clothes, most of them dont. Young children, even young women have nothing to wear. The older women dont have anywhere to wash their things other than a dirty river and as you drive past you see hundreds of women on the bank washing the clothes. You wonder how they manage to get things clean, but they do".

Dad has three students who share his religion and Dad is going to be taking back literature for them. As we've just booked flights to Darwin, I've decided I'm going to be taking up lots of clothes that the kids no longer wear, so that Dad can take them to Angola and distribute them (with the help of his three students) to the families in the congregation there that need them. I'd also like to try and make up a few little bits and pieces, maybe some pencil or crayon rolls, maybe one a month or so for him to take over there as well.

Dad's seen a lot in his travels but his voice today more than anything conveyed just how appalled he is that our fellow human beings have to live in such poverty.


Bridgie Didge said...

Ugh! Tough country! My sister and BIL were almost headed there but BIL got a job in Aberdeen instead. Thank goodness. Mumbai was bad enough! The contrasts between the haves and the have nots is heartbreaking and right in your face. I don't doubt that your Dad has been affected by it.

Gilly said...

Oh Carla, tough place to work. My dad fought in Angola in the 70s in the SA Army...not nice...heres hoping he stays safe.