St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life is different from My Country...

By James Mansaray
Freetown, Sierra Leone 
(visiting America(

Today marks exactly 14 days since I left my beloved Mama Salone.  I find myself nowhere else but here in COLD and snow bound Kentucky. Luckily for me, having known and work with Fr. Seraphim and Mama Vicki for ten plus years through Nazareth House Apostolate, they have provided a warm place for me to stay in America and warm clothes on my back. Only God knows how much love I have in my hearts for these guys and  having been here for several days now makes me to love them more.  My love for America is great.  I thank you all for your hospitality, I feel so welcomed and loved.  

It is good and fun to be here but I can’t wait to go back home to Sierra Leone.  Seraphim and Mama Vicki are simple but there is so much out there in America that I am seeing.  Truly, I am enjoying all the muchness and stuffs you have here, but I miss sitting with my people in the villages of Sierra Leone peacefully sharing a bowl of rice and cassava leaf. 
Those honest Sierra Leoneans who might read this, know exactly what am talking about. There is something peaceful and beautiful about simplicity.
 And when I call my people ‘SIMPLE’ I don’t mean that they are ignorant, they are very ingenious in that every day they creatively exist on what they can do with their own two hands and feet, carrying heavy loads on their heads, no big fancy cars to haul their wares.  
They boil water and if they are lucky soak a teabag in it to obtain some energy from caffeine; they have no places like Starbucks to receive coffee without even getting out of their cars. 

Sometimes a stop for a fresh cold tropical coconut juice that cost nearly nothing compared to the price of a cup of coffee here seems too hard for some to afford.   

School boys and girls fend for themselves to find a way to school every morning either on foot or if they could lucky catch a ride half way and walk the rest. 
Children happily sharing whatever little is placed on the table for them by their parents. 
They don't have all the choices I see here in this big modern Country but yet, these kids, they are always satisfied to have whatever there is to put into their bellies.  Men and woman and children...
 work their way out everyday in the sun to making a living etc.
Just the other day Mama Vicki took me to the bank and we didn't have to get out of the car and we never really look at the lady working there for she was on a TV monitor talking at us through a speaker. In salone, there are banks in Freetown town and some of the big towns, but there you have to walk in and personally talk to the teller. In places like Kabala and beyond, you just hide whatever tiny bit of money you have in your pocket.

To be honest to myself, here I have slept eight hours straight through every night. Something that I had never dream of in Freetown.  For so many years,  I must stay awake all night (only sleeping an hour here and another hour there) because I have a responsibility to guard my house well from night carpenters (thieves), fighting killer mosquitoes or wiping sweat all night from the humid hot in the rooms. I am so thankful for the chance to finally catch up on rest. 

Another encounter was the movie theatre here. The gigantic screen was too much and scary. The movie was about a train that never stops. The sound was so loud that I thought the train was coming. I kept looking around, but Claudio my friend told me there was something called 'surround sound' that makes it feel like you are in the movie. At one point in time I almost hop out of my seat looking for an escape route.
There is one thing that  I don’t miss and that is the Internet service in Salone.  Wow!,I absolutely love the fast speed internet here.  That I will terribly miss when I return home.

Today I will be meeting up with my American Sister, Aleica and her family to do some shopping.  I need to get a sport coat to wear for dress up and to church.  
I'm a bit apprehensive, there are so many choices that it is overwhelming.  It confuses the head.  Maybe there will be one coat in my size and it will be my only choice.  I will feel more comfortable with that...     

More later,
I love you all...

....and don't forget, just because I am here, doesn't mean my people in Salone don't need your help.  My wife and Pa Foday are picking up the slack while I am absent.  The work of NHA is ongoing.
People still need food, they still need medical aid, we still need that NHA Compound.   
Please send some money toward Nazareth House Apostolate and all the good work today.  Thank you. 


Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God Have Mercy upon me a Sinner.