"Ex Africa, semper aliquid novi."
Out of Africa, always something new.
A book I am currently reading contains this phrase on the dedication page. To me, it was refreshing--I was transfixed by the thought... It was unlikely, in my mind, that a work entitled "The Fate of Africa" would also speak of newness.
It is possible, of course, that its intended meaning was not at all what I took it to be. The saying could have merely been referring to Africa's turbulent history--in a place of such political instability--change, (and therefore relative newness) whether for better or worse, takes place almost daily. Maybe it's only my inner optimist that associates "something new" with... the hope that mistakes made yesterday don't necessarily condemn today for us--and certainly not all our tomorrows.
You may notice my blog address is "backtomarialbai.blogspot.com." The significance of this actually came from another book; when I was a freshman in college at The Ohio State University, my english section was required to read "What is the What." The embellished biography chronicled some of the struggles and problems contained within southern Sudan in the last decade or so. Marial Bai was the innocent "before;" the quiet African village where the book's subject grew up. Then, an age-old story of greed for power and supremacy disrupted the serenity--there were guns and bombs and hungry lions and starving boys and refugee camps... This blog will be dedicated to finding something new after all the rubble--not that the past can be undone--but I believe a place of innocence and serenity may be found again.
So by now you are probably thinking this blog is going to be all about Africa. Allow me to clarify that a bit... You see, I am (admittedly) supremely interested in the continent of Africa. I am drawn to it--but it's what's in Africa that I find so fascinating... It is a nation of extremes. A land mass filled with violence and desperation--but also with color, and soulful beauty, and determination... a nation of stories--and this is where it becomes somewhat metaphorical--in Africa I find endless expressions of the human condition.
Recently I've taken some sort of loose partnership with a blossoming organization called Loving Shepherd Ministries. Currently operating primarily out of both Haiti (which is somewhat similar to Africa in culture & infrastructure) and Ethiopia, LSM focuses mainly on providing homes for orphans and at-risk children, and pulling women from the sex trade. I agreed to take part in some work that's going to expose me to some undesirable facts of life in Haiti--and this blog will hopefully follow me on some parts of my journey. I want to use what I see and learn to help people--especially those who are broken; I want them to see how they can be built again in Christ. As I delve farther and farther into my study of culture and history and destitute places... I have no idea what I'll encounter. I'm sure at some points I'll come face to face with the kind of pain that changes you forever. But in the end, I'll smile and write you music--because I believe, even out of the most horrible things... in the end, there is only goodness.
I believe that because after all, God is sovereign.
Because He ultimately defeats all things, because at the end of everything there is only an empty tomb... Semper aliquid novi.
My hope has no end.