A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What is the Connection Between Cambrils and the Algerian Sahara?

 At twenty years old, Agata, my host in Cambrils, might seem like the average university student. She studies incessantly, having chosen Biochemistry to be her major, and when she can take a break, she enjoys going out for a beer with her boyfriend, Alex.

But while many people spend their holidays in places like Ibiza, Agata usually goes to Saharan Algeria with her mother, Misi, to help out a refugee family from Western Morocco. This annual 'holiday' has Agata and Misi living in harsh conditions while they help to support a family that has long been accustomed to life in the Sahara Desert. Agata's family helps out further by paying to have a daughter from the refugee family come once a year to visit them in Cambrils. Over the years, they have become close friends.

A typical house

The fishing port
 Agata's father, Ilde, is a private Mathematics teacher, and her mother is a social worker. We talked quite a lot about the lack of social justice that so often leads to conflict, and about the complicated situation in Palestine.
Meanwhile, both Agata and Misi feel that what they do for the family in the Algerian desert is little more than a patchup job that does nothing to solve the problem. But any act to alleviate suffering is the right act, and would that more people had the compassion and sense of social justice this family has.

A traditional dining room

The amiable citizen who invited us in to see his traditional dining room

Alex and Agata add a little life to the wall where Cambrils' leading citizens were hanged after the town had offered armed resistance against Napolean's troops

Agata's parents,  Misi and Ilde
Alex, who is also a man with a social conscience,  and Agata

No comments:

Post a Comment