Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My sister

A little over a year ago, I became a sponsor through a program called Women for Women International. From their website their mission is:

"Women for Women International helps women in war torn regions rebuild their lives by giving them financial and emotional support, job skills training, rights education, access to capital and assistance for small business development."

This organization was started by an Iraqi woman in 1993, and now supports women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and Sudan. I wanted to share my most recent letter of the woman I sponsor. She lived through the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. (For a phenomenal movie on the subject, see Hotel Rwanda.) Her name is Perpetue. She can neither read nor write and does not speak English. Here is her translated letter.

To my dear friend Elizabeth.
How are you? Allow me first greet you with too much love. May the Lord Jesus be with you. I have written to you, just due to the way I do miss you, and I need to extend my news to you and to know more about yours. I wrote to you, but you have never replied it, up to date, but this time I trust that you are going to reply to my letter.
At the moment, I am fairly okay slowly by slowly due to sickness, I encountered horrible cuts and dislocation to my body, during the 1994 genocide-war. It's not easy for me to do anything that demands physical strength. I thank you greatly for your sponsorship that has enabled me to solve much of my encountered problems. It's my hope that I will acquire basic foundation in what I am supposed to do shortly before the end of the program. I still hope to maintain our friendship to you, even in the near future. Just due to the way you did select me among others, when you didn't know me, this makes me never to desert you at all.
In fact, I am an orphan, though I am grown-up. I survived together with my young sister, who is now a student and both of us live in orphanage organization families, for we can't be able to care for ourselves and worse to this I was left disabled physically. I thank you greatly for your sponsorship, that has enabled me to come out of a solitary life. Prior to this, I had so many problems and I had no possible ways and means to solve them, but today I have hope in my life, and I hope to survive better than before. Let me thank them that you always send to us through the organization of Women for Women International of Rwanda, for they pass on our message from you and they also give us lessons that are beneficial to us. To me, I wish we would be meeting on a daily basis, for they render their services to us in love.
We have just been celebrating our Easter day and during this time I did seek forgiveness, through repentance of my sins, to God, so as to bear the righteousness of the Lord. By resurrecting with the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not easy for we do sin every day. But our God is full of mercy for the forgiveness of our sins daily. Hence we should always seek never to do contrary to God's will. It's my prayer for you, for the Lord to continue to protect you and to maintain your gift of Love. I always pray for you, in God's will, for he is the very one, who made you to know me and to know much of my problems. Let us maintain our prayers for each other and our God will always be with us.
Thanks from your friend,

I ask you to take only what you want from this. I want to point out that I merely requested to have a sister from Rwanda. I did not choose Perpetue from a list of women. Also, this organization is not a Christian one, although Perpetue is clearly Catholic.

If you feel so inclined, please consider sponsoring a woman. They have recently opened up their program in Iraq again, even though the safety of those involved cannot be guaranteed. I believe that we need to empower those who are poor and powerless in order to truly attain peace. Peace cannot be reached through an act of war. Perhaps if we (and by we I mean the empire that is America) showed love and compassion to our global neighbors, we would be able to reach the peace that we all so desperately crave.


Jason said...

"I believe that we need to empower those who are poor and powerless in order to truly attain peace. Peace cannot be reached through an act of war."

Right on, Beth. And it's been shown in many of the poorest communities on the planet they key is with the ignored potential of women. Empowering the oppressed empowers everyone!

E(Liz)a(Beth) said...

Thanks, Jay. There's a bit of a firestorm in my belly right now on the issue of empowerment, mostly due to the conference that we went to on ahimsa. The more of the world I see, the more I realize that 1) it's completely out of balance and 2) we as americans have the ability, more than anyone else, to change it.

Brad said...

With great power comes great responsibility.

joshwall said...

Didn't Yoda say that? If he didn't I think it would better if he did.

E(Liz)a(Beth) said...

But then it would be more along the lines of:

Great power with great responsibility comes

TJ said...

What a wonderful letter. I have to admit I didn't know very much about Rwanda until I watched that excellent movie Hotel Rwanda. So enlightening and heartbreaking too. I knew about the genocide, but not many details of it. It is impossible for us to understand the hate that motivates that kind of brutality, but it seems to me that something more should have been done to stop it. If America had been bold enough at that time to step in to save those who had no power, would our actions have been looked upon favorably by the world? Or would it be another case of everyone thinking we are fighting a war that shouldn't be waged? Those in Iraq who were brutalized by Sadaam's regime have now been empowered to change their world, even though evil still wages its war against them. Do we continue to fight against evil...Or believe it will cease to exist if we just try to reason with it? I do believe that 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'. (Edmund Burke)

E(Liz)a(Beth) said...

Thanks for your thoughts, TJ. Hotel Rwanda is one of my favorite films. Brad and I have spent some time discussing the possibility of traveling to Rwanda to do some aid work.

For me, the modern equivalent to Rwanda is Sudan. After Rwanda, we all said "Never again" and "Not on our watch" and yet hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered while the Sudanese government turns their head. The most recent developments have shown that the Sudanese government is not interested in any sort of end to the genocide. We're letting it happen all over again, with barely a word from anyone to demand that we put an end now as we chose not to in the past.