In the past, many a time, I heard:
‘Don’t waste water!’, ‘Conserve energy! ‘, or, ‘Don’t worry about it, just buy a new one!’, ‘Why does it take so long serve me, all I want is an ice-coffee (NOW)!’ etc. etc. etc…
I now know why Rev Themi loves coming home to Australia, I now understand why he looks at our lifestyle, our way of living and cannot understand why we complain, for a short period, I have seen what he sees everyday, I have lived as he lives and I can honestly say, I cant wait to get home.
At the Tower Hill compound, water is kept in underground reserve containers, from which other smaller containers (at a higher level above the house) are pumped with water. This gives pressure to our taps in the kitchen and toilets. I knew of this only from movies, but the experience makes you appreciate the comfort (or is it irresponsibility) of not planning and calculating how much water you will be using for the jobs at hand. And when you order for more water for refilling the reserves, not all companies deliver because of the condition of the road leading to the compound. Oh! … and there is no hot water, but the temperature conditions here don’t demand it. Though, the sun does heat the small water container throughout the day, giving hot water in the afternoon but without control.
The dry season also affects the city’s hydro-powered electricity system. So, here in Tower Hill’s compound there is this huge diesel-powered generator (the size of a car), for the random blackouts. It takes two persons to start it up, and it’s so LOUD, you can’t hear yourself. You always need to be prepared for the expected unexpected, otherwise you end up at the mercy of the ‘highly respected’.
There are some people who abuse the beggars system, they can smell victims (tourists and others) from afar, but once you stay a while at one place, you slowly begin to see the difference between the vampire/vulture attitude, and the busy bee attitude. I have seen here many who REALLY SWEAT for their daily bread. They shall one day be rewarded!
The harder you work for your money, the more you respect the things you have!
In the evenings I often walk (with the cheerful company of Fr M) downtown Freetown so I can buy some food from the street markets. An amazing rainbow of experiences! Every so often you smell that ‘green stuff’ in the air, and wanting to buy some basic needs from someone who is ‘high’… is somewhat frustrating (@!#%!… man!), especially when they can’t calculate simple math for your change; large groups of people who hang out for entertainment, around some street shops that have a television (more like what Greeks call low-grade ‘periptera’), for the TV is still not a common thing to have here; the same goes with ATM’s, I could number them on one hand; No Mcdonalds, no Burger King, no Crispy Cremes, no Cafeterias etc; Oh! relationship problems are also free public entertainment, from a westerner’s view it’s unacceptable physical violence, but in the local eyes, it is known that partners often steal $$$ from each other, so getting physical in public (your gender plays no role) is the solution; also street pot-holes are so common and seriously dangerous, from a westerner’s view, the council is to blame and sued, but here, if you fall in, or drive in them with serious damage, then you must be stupid!!
What is this world coming to? Or rather, what has humanity become? One takes from another, who takes things for granted, and both forget to be grateful for their existence, the greatest gift ever granted!
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again (even though he won’t like it); Rev Themi is one of a kind, a highly Educated man who wants to educate the poor, a man of Faith, who gives without expecting any return. He is known as the priest that forgives; the mission and church is known as the Giving mission, the Giving church. The government know him and respect him for his works, the people know him and love him for his kindness and care to strangers. Here in this corner of the world he makes a big difference to thousands every day through Faith, Food & Education.