If we were to define misery, we would hardly find the words. But if we have a look at what’s happening in Africa, then we can see misery appearing in all its splendor. Pictures from Sierra Leone are shocking; thousands of people are stacked on top of each other in hospitals, waiting patiently for their agonizing death, not even knowing if they’re dying of Ebola or hunger. They just die. This is the face of misery on this earth. But the real face of misery we will all meet on the Day of Judgment, if we keep on being indifferent and doing nothing and adopt the rich young man’s attitude, ensconced in the multitude of our goods, riches and comforts.
Love for the people of Sierra Leone who are suffering from the deadly epidemic turns into practice and ministry. After giving financial aid, now our Fraternity is going to send a container of humanitarian aid on October 19. We urge all of you, our friends and partners, to contribute to this shipment by offering long-term food.
For any information, please call us at +30 2310 279910.
A month ago, we got an urgent appeal from Sierra Leone. The deadly epidemic of Ebola hemorrhagic fever had already killed 700 people and Fr. Themistocles Adamopoulos asked for our help to protect his flock from being infected with the dangerous virus.
At the peak of summer, your love responded to this call of need. We have already raised and sent the amount of 13,000 euro, which will cover the cost of feeding the disabled of Waterloo for three months; in this way, the Village will be easily quarantined. Now, its residents have a message for you:
Five months ago, an Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic outbroke in Western African countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone). More than 1,600 people have been infected with the deadly virus and more than 1 in 2 of them died within a handful of days because of profuse bleeding.
Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. In the diresanitary conditions of the densely populated Sierra Leonean cities, the danger of such a contamination is huge. The missionary Fr. Themistocles Adamopoulos and our Fraternity make an appeal for the immediate support of the Orthodox Mission in the country to halt the spread of the disease. Fr. Themistocles describes the situation.
CC-BY-ND European Commission DG ECHO
(…) Ηere in Sierra Leone, the nation is presently under a state of emergency due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which has no cure and a 90% death rate. Unfortunately we have become the epicentre of this fatal epidemic. (…)
Today has been declared by the President of Sierra Leone as a national day of prayer and fasting and a day of national emergency known as Operation Octopus. It is designed to prevent the public movement of people in the streets and ensure the quarantining of certain eastern districts of the nation. Consequently, people are not permitted to leave their house and the army and police are patrolling and monitoring the situation. (…)
Our main concern is that many of the disabled and amputees that we are sheltering at the “Village of the Disabled” in Waterloo have the habit of begging in the streets of Freetown. Therefore they are exposing themselves to Ebola contamination because of their constant contact with strangers. They have become a high risk category and therefore endanger others. If only one of them become contaminated, they will also spread the virus throughout our Waterloo compound, which would be a disaster, because we are also sheltering their children there as well!
In order to keep them from begging, we have designed a plan to provide daily food supplies and therefore removing the need for begging. In this way, we will be able to quarantine the entire compound from any outside contacts. Thanks to your previous container we still have some food supplies left (rice, oil, sugar, tomato sauce etc). But this will perhaps be sufficient for two weeks or so. (…)
Τhere are also some further needs at this time: We need to purchase and distribute sanitary supplies (chlorine, medical gloves, antiseptic soap, face masks etc.) as well as to stock our clinic with various necessary medical supplies, including the boosting of our present financial power to cover the fees for medical treatment of those falling sick during this period. (…)
Help us to save human lives in Sierra Leone. There is an immediate need to raise at least 20,000 euros, in order to pay for the feeding of the amputees in Waterloo. If we don’t help now, then soon the “Village of the Disabled” will be past, because all its residents will have been infected with Ebola virus.
Tuesday 23rd May 2013, memory of the Holy Equals-to–the-Apostles, Saints Constantine & Helen. With the wishes and blessings of His Divine Beatitude Theodore II Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, I arrived in Guinea after a 29-hour-journey. At the airport I was greeted by the members of the first Orthodox nuclei in the country.
Wednesday 22nd May. In the car that was donated to us by the Saracakis Bros Company, we set off on our road trip for the city of Kindia, which is situated inland about 135km from the capital (city of) Conakry. It took us more than 5 hours to cover this relatively short distance. I got thirsty on the way so I asked if we could stop for a while in order to have some sort of refreshment and quench our thirst. “Such things do not exist here,” said my fellow travelers. I wondered how that was possible, since I saw little tables with bottles of popular western soft drinks throughout the way. “No, Your Eminence,” they told me, “these are not soft drinks but gas; here we buy gas in bottles of soft drinks and beer and only the richer in jerry-cans.”
Thursday 23rd May. Visit to the Technical School which is under construction in Kindia. At this Technical School there will be bakery courses and among the facilities, there is provision for the installation of a professional oven so that apart from their practical training, the students will be able to bake bread for the benefit of the local society. Next we visited local schools, where we distributed to the pupils stationery and sweets which had been sent in a container by the Limassol Co-operative Savings Bank. Wherever I walked, I heard the people call me ‘Fote’, especially the little children. I asked my fellow travelers what ‘Fote’ means, and they said ‘White man’. “Keep in mind, Your Eminence, that the majority of the people here have never seen a white man before except on TV, let alone one walking among them.”
Friday 24th May. We visited the parking lot of the 50- seat- bus which was donated to us by the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity and discussed with local agents the best possible ways this bus could meet the transport needs of the local community. It is worth pointing out that such a bus has never been used before, not only in Kindia but also in the whole of Guinea. Next I visited the three wells which are being drilled thanks to the good offices of the Metropolis, so that 3 of the poorest city districts can have access to water. “The poorest” is just a figure of speech, since 99% of the inhabitants live below the poverty line. Privileged are the ones who have a relative that works abroad.
Saturday 25thMay. I visited the local University. There I was given the opportunity to meet with the representatives of the students’ association and discuss their needs, which were focused on the creation of a lending library and the accessibility to the internet, and I could not help thinking how many books we throw away in the western world without even bothering to recycle them. We distributed stationery there as well.
Sunday 26th May. Divine Liturgy celebrated in a private venue provided by a family of catechumens. Cantor, Sacristan, Deacon. Priest: all in one person. The catechumens have a thirst for religious books. They said to me: “Your Eminence, send us whatever you can.”
Monday 27th May. Departure for Sierra Leone.Despite the very bad weather, the person in charge of the Mission in Sierra Leone, the Very Reverent Archimandrite Fr Themistocles Adamopoulos, managed to get to the airport in order to greet me. We were able to reach the Mission premises around midnight.
Tuesday 28th May. Accompanied by Fr Themistocles and all the clerics I went toWaterloo region, where I visited the Missionary center of Saint Moses the Black, which was inaugurated by the Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria on 23rd February 2012, and comprises the Holy Church of the Lord’s Resurrection, Presbytery, Primary School, Clinic, workroom for the creation of artificial limbs (prosthetics) and housing for the accommodation of the mutilated by mines children. Inside the Holy Church the pupils sang songs and recited poems. Next I told them words of (parental) love and gave them advice. Then I laid the foundation stone for the erection of the (Junior) High School.
In the afternoon I was shown around the Orthodox Pedagogical Academy, where I marveled at the work being done there. I visited the classrooms, the rich in the collection of materials library and the computer lab, and I also had the chance to talk with the students as well as the teachers.
In the evening I officiated at the Vespers service for the feast of Mid-Pentecost at the Holy Church of Sts Constantine and Helen, which was erected next to the Orthodox Pedagogical Academy, and I preached the Word of God to the congregation, which was mainly composed of the male and female students of the Academy.
Feast of Mid-Pentecost. We conducted a vigil at the Cathedral of Sts Eleftherios and George in Freetown. During the Divine Liturgy, I ordained Deacon Vaios Hancile to a Presbyter, Subdeacon Aaron to a Deacon and finally I confirmed Fr Eleftherios Edmonson to a Protopresbyter (Archpriest) through imposition of hands, whom I appointed Dean of the Cathedral on Fr Themistocles’ recommendation. I preached the Word of God mostly referring to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and in the end I congratulated Archimandrite Themistocles Adamopoulos on his multifarious, God-pleasing work in Sierra Leone, which he carries out under very difficult conditions. I also thanked all those who contribute to the fruition of the Missionary work in one way or another, making special mention of the contribution (material, moral as well as in human resources) of the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity.
Wednesday 29th May. I conducted a blessing of the waters for the beginning of the new school term, which was attended by the teachers as well as the schoolchildren of the Orthodox schools (Primary-Junior High), which are situated beside the Cathedral, and which were inaugurated by the Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria in February 2012.
Next we returned to the Missionary center where I chaired the clergy gathering. There I had the chance to meet with all the clerics, the volunteers and the Mission staff and give them the proper parental admonitions; we also discussed the various issues that concerned them.
In the eveningI departed for Senegal. Despite the bumpy journey, we managed to reach the airport in time and bade farewell with emotion and spiritual exultation, glorifying the Holy One for all the things He makes us worthy to experience daily in our humble effort to evangelize our African brothers in Western Africa.