“when will you leave Liberia? What will you do after?”
Common enough questions. I responded as usual, “April. If I don’t find a job somewhere in Africa then I’ll return home to the States.” I then volunteered that I have friends in Uganda and Tanzania who might have employment information for me there.
He mused over that for a short time and then asked me, “ what if they wanted to send you to Darfur?”
I laughed quietly to myself and then shook my head, “I probably wouldn’t go,” I said, “it is dangerous.” we walked on for a short time, headed to a teacher training. “would you go?” I asked, enjoying the casual conversation.
He turned to look at me and said, “yes. Even today if they called I would go.” he still smiled but his face and voice were earnest as he continued. “here in Liberia people came to help us during our crisis. Without that help we would not have been successful in recovering.” he continued, “Sudan, even Iraq, if they asked me I would go.” he talked about the need for outsiders to be present to help alleviate conflict.  “it is needed in Somalia. If people had not come to Liberia because it was not safe we would not have emerged from our crisis.”
I felt smaller. Humbled.
And for him…for him I felt…I’m not sure what I felt. the words aren’t quite right. Buut -pride is closest.
Proud that there are people who think of a greater good and act accordingly. Awed that someone who lived through what Liberia lived through could see beyond his own struggle…even his own recovery…to return the decency other nameless people bestowed upon his country, his country(wo)men.
I don’t know if I’d be up to going to Darfur or the DRC if the opportunity arose. I watch the job announcements for the IRC and note that Iraq, Afghanistan, and DRC dominate their vacancy list. But the potential danger, the stress, makes me question if that is work I was meant to do…work I want to do. In the shadow of a man who has already lived through hell at home and is willing to live through hell at someone else’s home…I’m uncomfortable with what that says about me.

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3 Comments on humbled

  1. Kyla says:

    That is pretty amazing. And I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about being so comfortable and safe and enjoying it so much. What does that say about me?

  2. Linnea says:

    maybe it just says that we’re human…a time for everything…i like to think so anyway.

  3. Teresa says:

    quite an impression. i also was humbled by some very kind comments from a burmese refugee while in thailand. i value them to this day.

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