CLWR’s Community Relations Director Tom Brook is reporting from the Goro region in Ethiopia.
I don’t have a lot of international travel experience in the context of Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s work around the world. Even so, I have to express that those visits I have made always left me with the uncomfortable feeling of intruding in the lives of people who have become incredibly disadvantaged through no fault of their own.
Whether it was visiting relief camps in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; refugee sites such as the settlements in Palestine or camps like Sherkole in Ethiopia; or the drought-stressed farmers of the Goro district of Ethiopia, I could not escape the feeling of coming to those places from a position of privilege which was provided as much from the place of my birth than from anything else.
When I expressed my concern over coffee with a local LWF worker in the town of Gobu in the Goro district of Ethiopia, he told me it was wrong to think that way.
He said, “People are excited that you would come and see their problems for yourself. It gives them hope that people really care for their situation, but most important of all – it allows them to say thank you and bless you for the generosity of the people you represent.”
I’ll probably still carry around a good dose of Lutheran guilt, but those words put everything in a completely different light, and for that I was very grateful.
– Tom Brook
Watch a video of Tom Brook reflecting on his experiences in Goro.