The CSNS Board: (From Left) Betty Owen, Treasurer; Ellen Besso, Vice-President; Terry Adler, President; Diane Mawson, Board Member at Large; Judy Dunbar, Secretary; (Front) Helge Mercker, CSNS Agent & CSNS & Children’s Sanctuary Namibia Board Member
Many years ago in Ontario, I was treated by a Naturopath-Chiropractor, a divorced, middle aged man, father of two. This quirky, opinionated man fell in love with a beautiful young woman and together they had a baby, to the amazement of everyone who knew him. One day Richard told me that he had found freedom through commitment to his new wife and babe, a concept foreign to me at the time.
Yesterday morning I opened Sharon McErlane’s newsletter from The Great Council of Grandmothers, (netoflight.org), entitled What Service Will Do For You. “Service is freedom and service brings freedom,” the Grandmothers said. “Loving service is powerful. “Connecting with others in the light”, they go on to say, our limitations begin to melt and our energy shifts.
Western volunteers we met in India echoed our sentiments, that we all get back much more than we give to the Tibetans we help in Dharamshala. The same goes for our work with displaced Tibetans and Syrian refugees here at home, and now my volunteer work with the newly founded Canadian Children’s Sanctuary Namibia Society.
Recently we held our first AGM followed by a General Meeting and were privileged to have Helge, our Namibian Agent, and a member of both the Canadian and Namibian Boards, with us. Though my energy was flagging near the end of an intense day, Helge immediately riveted my attention when she began speaking about her experiences in Drimiopsis, the settlement where the orphaned and at risk San children subsist in neglect and poverty.
I have observed abject poverty on my Indian travels and have become inured to it to a degree, in order to continue visiting that country. However Helge managed to paint a visceral picture of the lives of the children and teachers in the Drimiopsis settlement, one that penetrated my privileged, safe, white Canadian mentality.
Listening to this gentle, spiritual white woman speak lovingly about her work with the children opened my heart and moved me deeply. Helge spoke about how she slowly, over a number of years, encouraged and helped the teachers and other supporters of the San people, re-settled in Drimiopsis, Namibia in 1991, to begin rebuilding their community, starting with food and water security, education for children and employment opportunities for adults.
Helge happily reported that the CSN Board and key community members have made great strides by taking ownership of development efforts by starting the brick building project that to date has produced 12,000 bricks, working with a volunteer architect to design the first Sanctuary building and hiring a security guard to safeguard the supplies needed for both the building and the protective fencing for the site.
I am proud to have the opportunity to offer my service and skills to this community as a member of our dedicated CSNS team.
Love & Light