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Andrej Berg

Andrej Berg

pondělí, 24 březen 2003 22:09

Help for the Pygmies

Imagine yourself living in the woods without electricity, running water, gas, oil, stove, fridge, table, chairs, mattress, no TV, CD player, DVD, car, computer, Internet, disco, bank account, money,  no IC-card, birth certificate, health insurance, hospital, pension, no shops or streets, none of the luxuries of modern society or what some of us consider necessities. A thing of the past, out of the storytellers books, fairy tale or movie? No, indeed there are still thousands of people living like that in this country, similar to our forefathers, and that not even so long ago.

They live in huts made out of bark, sticks & , big leaves, beds and benches are made out of wood. They live on what they find in the woods and hunt, with simple spears, nets, dogs and a lot of God-given instinct, wisdom & knowledge which we studied people wouldn’t know a thing about. I was told that they can catch a monkey in 5 minutes, which we wouldn’t even find or be able to do even if we shot 50 bullets at it.

They live like nomads and have no formal education, are very friendly, live peacefully with each other and know how to survive where we would starve. Their life would go on as if nothing happened - in fact they wouldn’t even find out - if the world would start World War 3, if we would have another oil-crisis, war in the Mid-East, a worldwide financial crash or if the Anti-Christ would rise to power.

Since greedy people cut down the big trees of the forests, it slowly kills their livelihood & forces them to learn other ways to survive. Some of them are starting to settle near the dirt-roads through the woods, learn to farm a little plot of land and start sending their kids to schools where available. We were told that their kids are more intelligent in general than the villagers around.

Until recently and often still today they are looked down upon - not just for their short statures - as underlings, something between animals and humans. The ones who didn’t settle own no land and are still often considered properties by the villagers around. This means when they hunt something, it might be taken away from them.

They believe deeply in God but hardly know anything about Jesus, and are happy to learn more about Him. Since they can’t read, we talk and give them pictures about His love and care, which they really appreciate.

In the same country, not to talk about the rich nations, live people with up to 8 body guards, several prohibitively expensive cars & mansions as big as a castle. While some people are poor physically, some are poor morally, some spiritually.

This is just one of the many signs Jesus mentioned would happen before His return according to Matthew 24. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Mat. 24:12). You can read the whole Chapter about the other signs like the many famines, earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars etc which we have nowadays, and you can see that we live in the time Jesus talked about would come before His return. Until then let’s do all we can to prepare for it, not neglect to feed our souls and help the poor.

Jesus gave us His Law of Love in Math 22: 36-40: “Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” If everybody would live like that, it would stop all the wars, hunger, poverty, physical and spiritual pollution, like the madness of many of the modern movies, music, media, with all its violence and demoralization in the endless TV channels etc - if we all would only love Him and our neighbors more and be more happy and content with the simple beauties of life.

As you can see, our contact with the pygmies really spoke to me. Coming out of the woods, back to “civilization”, makes you think about what’s important in life. Let’s remember that we can’t take a penny with us when we leave this world, which we all have to do one day. And the most important things can’t be bought with money: health, happiness, love, life, real friendship, intact families, safety, the future or even today. Only God can give us these gifts.

I think everybody agrees with us that the pygmies surely are the most needy people here. We experienced some of the most intensive and  inspiring days of our lives distributing clothes, shoes, sheets and God’s love to these lovely people. In the next newsletter we will share more about the rest of our distribution. We are very thankful that we finally got the container through customs and could help a lot of people. Of course it’s only “a drop in the bucket”, but many drops make the ocean. We want to thank everybody who helped and made this project possible. It sure was a sign of Gods love to a lot of people who have less than their needs.

Fotogalerie
As thanks: traditional dance with music.Rain complicates our transport.By rain late in the evening: the baby on granny’s arm &...Canoe-transport to Pygmies, which never saw white men before.with Lenka had lost it’s mother through sickness.Jean Pierre, Dr. Essama (in white), who helped us a lot in the distribution, Wolfgang, Lisa and Naomi with the Pygmies.Wolfgang distributing clothes.Pygmychildren in a school: Lenka and Johnny give a bible-story with a translator.Marianne and her friends help Daniela loading in Tonna - unloading in Douala: over 10 tons of humanitarian aid.One night we were stuck in the mud from one to 5 o’clock in the morning.
 

úterý, 24 prosinec 2002 22:09

Patience in Africa

There are many ways to get a container of humanitarian aid into Africa, but to find the simplest, safest and fastest way is not easy. Here is a little idea of what we have to do to see a project like this through.

First we spent several months in Germany to collect the aid and find sponsorship for this big project. Thank you so much for all your help and support, big and small - every little bit goes a long way here! Thank you all, who brought your goods to our local storages, and especially to our faithful helpers in Herrenberg and Rosenheim who loaded and transported it all to Erfurt. There Daniela and Lisa were an indispensable help with sorting and packing it into literally tons of banana boxes. When we finally had our packing list ready, I returned to Cameroon with Lisa who wanted to come along to experience Africa for the first time in her life. She continues her school with a correspondence course from Germany.

Next, Lenka and I were trying to get in contact with the new Minister of Social Affaires in the Capital, Yaounde, who replaced the former one while we were in Germany. A change like this can happen quickly here and it can take a long time to get such an appointment. When we finally were able to meet the new minister, we were very thankful for her help, because without some local organization or contact like her you can't import anything tax-free into Africa. At the moment we are applying for the desperately needed tax exemption at the Finance Ministry before we can even send the container.

Whoever is not well prepared in this might end up with the same fate as the 11 containers of humanitarian aid which just got sold by customs here. If the papers are not in order while dealing with customs, there come up high storage fees every day at the harbor, which often cannot be paid in the end. That's why a lot of aid ends up where it shouldn't go.

The two most important criteria for us in all this surely are prayer and patience! If you follow the wrong advice and are not properly prepared, everything can go wrong, cost a lot of (bribe-) money or drag on for a long time. That's why you need a lot of patience, time and God's guidance, without which nothing works here. You can't compare understanding of time here with that in Europe. It's like the joke: "When God created to world He gave the Europeans the clock and the Africans the time."

Our next step is to find a proper and safe storage and identify who needs our aid the most, which is an art in itself and also takes time. For although the container is 12 meters long, the need is so much bigger. This means we can only help the most needy people, like the handicapped, old people, lepers, and orphans etc. We are very thankful for your continued support without which this all wouldn't be possible, and for your prayers for the transport, tax exemption and coming distribution.

Besides the humanitarian aid we also continue in our spiritual ministry to strengthen and inspire the many people here who are so open and thankful for this. One of our projects is preparing Christmas programs for the different orphanages and children centers here. The children and staff are very appreciative of any encouragement and love we can give to them. We already had one program for the students of the University in Douala. They really enjoyed the skits and fellowship and so did we.

At the end we'd like to let you know two inspiring announcements: 1. For more information about our work and the "Afrika Direkt Hilfe" team, our faithful bookkeeper, Rudolf in Datteln, set up our own website under www.afrikadirekthilfe.de or www.a-d-h.org 2. For whoever wants more reading material than we send out in our "Vitamins for the Heart" we would like to offer a beautiful monthly Magazine called "Activated" with inspiring, uplifting and informative articles on all kinds of important questions about life and faith. We also have little books and other very helpful reading and reference materials on subjects like prayer, overcoming obstacles, understanding God’s Word, Heaven, Childcare and many others.

 

Fotogalerie
...computers, sewing machines, wheelchairs, crutches, bandages and other medical equipment etc.Wolfgang, Daniela and Lisa with over 10 tons of clothing, sheets, shoes, toys, tools...Our team at Christmas program for the students.Wolfgang and Lenka talking with the new Minister of Social Affairs in Cameroon, Mme Dr. Bomba Nkolo.

středa, 24 červenec 2002 22:09

Tools and Machines for the Handicapped

How can we help the blind, deaf, dumb and handicapped to support themselves in this country? This new challenge faced us when a Handicapped Association from Yaounde asked us for help recently.

Besides clothing and wheelchairs etc they asked if we could try to possibly bring some tools and machines for shoe- and key-maker. My oldest brother promptly offered to help us in this matter and contacted the Federal Shoemaker Association and “Mister Minit Germany”. Both want to help us in this matter, and we hope that we can help lots of the most needy here in this way, not just with a “fish”, but teaching them “how to fish” – helping them to help themselves.  

There are unfortunately a lot of handicapped in Cameroon. We were told, it´s about 10% of the population, since until 10 years ago there was a lot of polio and still today they have lots of meningitis in the North, including malnutrition in parts of the country.

When visiting the handicapped association personally in Yaounde we found out that there is also a big need for sewing machines and carpentry tools. We are trying now to also set things in motion in this area, so we can help more people. The handicapped are getting training in these professions, to help them get easier included in society instead of living on the fringes, and so that one day they can support themselves.

This challenge spoke to us, and we hope that on my visit to Germany we can collect sufficient materials for this project besides the usual humanitarian aid and that we can prepare everything for the  container. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, who contribute to this, financially or materially and through your prayers! Because after everything is collected, sorted and ready to get loaded, we need again a miracle, to get it all through customs! We already made some contacts for this, and we hope and pray that it works, once it´s time, probably in September.

Besides the handicapped we want to also help old-folks-homes and orphanages, which the Minister for Social Affaires, Mme Dr. Fouda, visited with us. Dear Sisters there are taking in old people, which i.e. were found living alone and helpless on the street. In one orphanage was a 14 year old boy who was found in the woods and was so weak that he couldn´t even walk.

Besides the humanitarian aid we also made progress on the spiritual side of life, as there is a great vacuum and need. Many are Christians, but don´t know much about the Bible. They are also very thankful if you show them how to keep themselves free from negative spiritual forces.    

One day passing gospel tracts at the University in Douala we met Eveline. She was very excited about what we were doing and right away asked us to come and teach the youth group in her church, as she explained they don’t have enough teachers. We agreed and the following Friday she led us through the slums next to our house to her parent’s “house”. Jean Pierre and I - both of us white - were stirring quite some attention, as we weren’t the usual side in these quarters. After squeezing through few “streets” we ended up in front of Eveline´s house. Eveline pointed to a little wooden shack with yellow plastic, as a roof explaining that this is the witch doctor’s office. She said it’s only one of the three in her immediate neighborhood and that many people come and seek their “advice”. It made us pray as we went even more.

We entered her parent’s living room, which was a very humble room with posters of Jesus and Bible verses taped to the muddy walls. Next to the wall were couches and wooden benches. The floor consisted of a piled up dirt from the street. Eveline explained to us that last year during the rainy season their whole house got flooded and one day she woke up to water above her ankles. Because of that and lack of finances they had to use the dirt solution to make the ground about 20 cm higher that they wouldn’t get flooded again.

Their youth group was a lively bunch. When we entered they were all up singing and dancing with the music playing the drums and singing from all their hearts. They were only up to about 10 before Eveline´s younger brothers – twins -joined us with more music shakers. After singing and prayer we were introduced and started our Bible class. We started with showing them Bible verses on salvation. After we were sure that everybody understood they were going to Heaven we opened the forum to their questions. We were surprised how much they opened to us in such a short while and shared with us some of the problems they encounter in their Christian life in Cameroon. The girls shared heartbreaking stories of how the women are being abused if they want to pursue a school, get a job or by their bosses once they have a job being from poorer backgrounds etc. Also about the difficulties of being a Christian in a country full of traditional religions, the outcasts they become if they don’t want to bow to their village’s Gods etc. Our hearts really went out to them. They were in so much need of encouragement and fought condemnation for not doing enough for the Lord. We tried to share with them the Love of God and how much He loves them even if they fall at times and how all He wishes for them is to get up and keep going no matter what. We also told them about His personal involvement with each of their lives and how much He cares for and understands them. “He’s touched with our infirmities.”  They definitely seemed encouraged after we finished and begged us to come again.

Eveline herself would like to help us with translation some of the Christian Activated booklets and all of them would very much appreciate a sponsorship of the Activated magazine. We’ll be looking into what more we can do for them.

Fotogalerie
At an old-folks-home with the Minister of Social Affaires.bei einem behinderten freund mitte und mit 4 seiner 7 tchter.jpgVisiting a handicapped father (middle) and 4 of his 7 daughters.A teacher for the handicapped (in the wheelchair).Lenka and Eveline with the youthgroup in her house.

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