Monday, April 02, 2007

Holy Monday in Cameroon -- Day 35

French Word of the Day (words this week will come from the Biblical readings for Holy Week): pauvre; this word means "poor," as in people or countries who are not wealthy. Thus, after Mary anoints Jesus' feet with expensive perfume, Judas Iscariot complains that the perfume could have been sold and the money given aux pauvres (to the poor)!

Face of the Day: Rev. John Thornburg, hymnwriter, poet, pastor, and artist extraordinaire!: You've seen this mug all over the blog! Rev. Thornburg is a great friend of the Mission. He's visited several times already, and is planning to come next month. He's currently in the middle of making editorial decisions about a bilingual Cameroonian hymnal and worship book. He's also making plans to make recordings of many of the songs which will appear in the book.

Cameroon Fact: Last month, a conflict engulfed two tribes located in Bali, in the Northwest Province of Cameroon. Details have been a bit hard to come by, but here is what's known so far: on March 3, the Bali-Nyonga, who were the original occupants of Bali, claimed that they were the legitimate landowners and wanted to chase away the Bawock, with whom they have been sharing the same land for close to half a century. The Bawock in turn consider the Bali-Nyonga as Nigerians who invaded their land. The Bawocks were violently chased from their homes, leaving behind their belongings. The Bali-Nyongas ransacked the homes, then burned them down. Fortunately, no lives were lost.

However, there is a major refugee crisis. According to the Red Cross, there are a confirmed total of 2,309 people displaced from their homes, comprised of 243 men, 343 women and 1,723 children, including 194 sick persons and 72 elderly persons above the age of 65 years. These refugees are currently being housed in Bamenda, the capital of the North West Province, 40 km from their home town. The numbers of displaced persons is likely higher, since many people may have been evacuated to other towns and villages in the vicinity.

Mission Challenge
: Cameroon is the home of over 200 missionaries who work with SIL, which describes itself as "a non-profit, scientific educational organization of Christian volunteers that specializes in serving the lesser-known language communities of the world. Its members live among the people of these communities while seeking to understand their cultures and learn their languages. In partnership with these communities, SIL helps to develop in them the skills and capacity to preserve their cultures and languages in a way that serves the people best." We have gotten to know many of the Yaounde-based SIL missionaries, and Rachel attends Rain Forest International School, which was created to serve the needs of SIL missionary families. Today, discover a little more about SIL by visiting their website.