Good Shepherd’s Efe Jane Cudjoe, Youth Leader, Travels The World
Our Youth Leader, Efe Jane Cudjoe is on a Semester Abroad from Brown University. She was chosen to visit Viet Nam, South Africa and Brazil with a small group of other outstanding students. She is studying communities and their medical services in these very different places. She is an ambassador of God’s love and care for all people as she lives and learns on three Continents. Her witness of love is especially powerful as she experiences a world shaped by apartheid-apart-hate, until the victories of Nelson Mandela and all those courageous persons who fought for freedom with non-violent protest and sealed it with unexpected love and tolerance. She already knows, having been born and raised a first generation African-American in Florida that freedom and all civil and human rights are won through non-violent action and Christ-like courage and love but that decades later there is still much more work to be done to nourish equality in the hearts of people and in the essential systems like schools and employment and medical care. We are eager to learn the lessons she learns in South Africa. And we also will attend carefully to her lessons from Viet Nam encountered so many years after the least popular war in American history. How exciting it is that we can now send young people to share and learn from the wisdom of these cultures-as our swords are finally beaten into plowshares. In this context, our youth are the plowshares preparing the fields for a new level of knowledge and understanding.
Below are two messages from her with pictures from Viet Nam and South Africa. All of our love and blessings go with you, dear Efe Jane.
“The trip we are about to embark upon is unfathomable and totally inaccessible to the majority of people in the world… we will make the experience about reciprocity and exchange.” During our time in Brazil, Vietnam & South Africa we will be investigating the ways in which communities can ensure the health and well-being of all citizens amid mounting challenges created by changing economic, environmental, and social forces.
Molo! Pastor Judy Lee & Pastor Judy Beaumont and All, (Molo means hello in Xhosa) I hope this email finds you and Pastor Judy Beaumont well! I also hope everyone at Good Shepherd is doing well too! I am currently writing you from Muizenberg in South Africa. For the next two days, we will be staying in a backpackers hostel. We are currently going to be in a hostel because we just returned from our two week stay in the village-Zwelethemba. Zwelethemba is a primarily black community and was an all black community during apartheid. I had an amazing time not only learning quite a few words in Xhosa (the X sound is made with a clicking noise made by clicking the tongue against the top of the roof) but also getting to bond with my home stay mother in addition to learning of the hardships and triumphs that many of the individuals in the community have faced. Amidst various issues such as high rates of HIV and unemployment to name a few, the love that the community exuded is one that I will truly never forget. During our time in Zwelethemba we not only heard the rich stories of our homestay mothers but we were also given the opportunity to go on site visits, such as our visit to a TB hospital. On Monday we will be heading to the Bo-Kaap, which is a primarily 'colored' and Muslim community in the center of downtown Capetown. Although I know the experience will certainly differ than that which I had in Zwelethemba I am so excited. That being said my time in South Africa has been amazing thus far. It has taken a bit of time for me to get use to the racial categorizations in addition to the long history surrounding the use of such categorizations. But although these divisions based upon race are highly evident I feel so welcomed in this environment. Each day I am so thankful for this experience and I am certain that without your continual love and support in addition to that of Good Shepherd and Dad, Mom and Nana, none of this would have been possible. I'm still unable to believe that I have been given this opportunity and I'm so grateful. Please send my love and blessings to all at Good Shepherd and please let them know that I am doing well. I miss everyone dearly! Love & Blessings, Efe Jane P.S. I will be sending more pictures soon!