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.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Note from James

Written by James B. Mansaray, NHA Director - West Africa Division; NHA School Headmaster - Kabala.

Greetings from Kabala, Sierra Leone!

It has been a long while since I last wrote on this blog. Yes, I am anxious to say a word or two as there have been so many miracles since June 16th 2014.  

James and Lucy at the chapel of St. Simeon Skete 
On that day, my dear daughter Lucy and I made a trip to the U.S.A. - most especially St. Simeon Skete in Taylorsville, Kentucky.  Lucy was visiting for her very first time and met all our NHA Board Members and many sponsors at St. Simeon Skete.  Then she met even even more sponsors as we traveled to La Grange, Georgia, West Point and then South Carolina. It was a wonderful trip and we got to see  a lot of America.

Thanks to Mama Vicki for all the hard work and long drive through thick and thin to get  us to meet a host of NHA family. I must confess, it was the best trip ever. Lots of wonderful  people I met on this trip. Wish I could name everyone individually but you know who you are and how much you mean to NHA.  And so does God. 

The miracles of this trip were everywhere but most especially in the diagnosis 

and treatment of Lucy's heart condition.  

She is now perfectly healthy and we are all so very thankful.

As my time drew nearer for the return to my beloved homeland, the deadly EBOLA disease
outbreak raised its ugly and foul head trying to control of my Country; killing hundreds and spreading rapidly like a plague. My heart was broken and I was terrified. But the question was should I let my beloved family suffer and be in danger alone and I sit back in the U.S. and enjoy more food, access easy internet and sleep in a warm bed or go and be with them? My answer was, of course, without hesitation "go be with my family". Mama Vicki and I battled a bit about this for she was worried about me going in to the Ebola's war front.  But as much as she and Seraphim worried for me, they worry for Kadijah and my kids as well.  They know that my place is with my beautiful bride and young children. But they did give me the option to stay.  

Finally the day came for my departure and I was ready for it more than anything else. 

I always cry when leaving them but this time I was smiling wanting nothing but to be on that plane and return to my homeland and my wife and kids. 

Off we go and at my first stop I noticed only a few Sierra Leoneans. These people got guts like me so am not the only one making the attempt to return to our Ebola ridden towns and villages.

In Brussels I noticed lesser people in the aircraft. I stretched my body out well on different seats -  making the aircraft mine for few hours.   Forty-five minutes before landing my eyes were drawn to the small TV in front of my seat.  

I noticed we are flying through Kindia, the home of Pa Barrie. That was an honor for me to do. 

Going home to help my family and friends be safe from the deadly disease and at the same  time seeing this noble, honorable and prayerful man’s home gave me such courage.  

I prayed and asked Pa Barrie to pray me home safe.  Seems as if he was there looking on the airplane.

Upon arrival I noticed fear in most of the people I met. I know Sierra Leoneans to be warm and always smiling with a welcoming hand to all.  This time around, the smiles were there but you could see and feel the fear.

Back again on the broken ferry. It brought to mind all the new cool boats on Taylorsville lake. The ferry  is old and scary but its all we got to take people back and forth.

Back in rainy Freetown. Excited and happy I greeted my wife and kids well with tight hugs.
The following day, we were on the road to Kabala for I learned from a friend that all movement in and out of Kabala will be stopped for it’s the only town with no Ebola case yet. Tons of people wanting to go in to Kabala that night.

From the airport in Louisville Kentucky and now back in my beloved hometown Kabala.  As we drove through the broken road down the hill to the Compound, I noticed several NHA school kids. I guess they expect me to open school for them the following day. But with the Government ban on all school openings and fears of the spread of the disease;  our students are doing their best to stay with their families at home for now till the disease is

It was easy for me to notice more suffering and difficulties amongst people in Kabala. More beggars around, and a whole lot asking for job and finding ways to help feed themselves in the midst of this crisis. More  people being asked to take leave from their jobs.  

With businesses and schools shut down employers can't pay employees.    It brings memories of our ten years war. This time the disease seems even more scary.  You don't know where it is hiding and there is no good guy or bad guy like with the rebels.  The disease just hits on anyone. 
Children receiving rice from NHA in Kabala 

As I type this, Kabala is still safe but you never know. Even without any cases of Ebola in Kabala, the disease is still taking a toll. 

Family receiving a rice distribution from James in Kabala

We cant afford it as the price of local commodities continue to take a step higher every other day. Now the word that the whole Country will be shut down for few days makes it even worse. Yesterday I had to pay more than I ever had for  bags of rice to help feed some people and getting them ready with clean water etc.

Roo, Sia & Vicki sitting on bags of rice for villagers 

No word yet on schools but we are ahead of the game, making preparations. We are repairing and fixing the school so that we will be ready to start school when the government gives the okay.  Now would be the perfect time to build the much needed expansion of the school as people are so desperate for work.  But NHA is having difficult time meeting needs now.  So we wait for the funding.  It needs to happen, there are 200 students waiting to enroll.  Education brings independence.  

Right now your NHA in Sierra Leone are doing their best to help all those around us during this Ebola Outbreak Crisis.  

We especially are trying to reach the aged and young who can't get help on their own. 

It is my pleasure to write this blog. I promise to write more from time to time. The internet is slow and intermittent so I have difficulties communicating.  Our generator has broke so charging my laptop and phone can be a chore.  But we are getting along.  We have flashlights and candles enough.  

My gratitude and love to all. Thanks being there and supporting NHA, me, my family here in Kabala and in Taylorsville, Kentucky.  Kadijah and I miss Lucy a lot but we know she is being cared for good.  Thanks for giving life back to my
people, they need you now very much.
Love ,