my name given in the desert is Barca

“*Arabic-babbling-gibberish-rambling-BARCA*”, my host mom, ******, said to me. I turned to her 17-year-old daughter, ****** (the “y” pronounced like the “dg” in bridge, kindoff…) and asked in Spanish, “¿Qué dijo tu mamá?” (what did your mom say). ****** responded, “She’s given you a name…your name now is Barca.” I was even more perplexed, “what does it mean?” ****** smiled, “It means good person in Arabic.” AH! good, that sounds better than what it means in Spanish: BOAT! Does the melfa make me look fat or something? 😉

I was sharing with a new friend, Deborah, this evening about my trip to the ****** Refugee Camps in ******, North Africa. I like it when people have specific questions to ask about the trip than when someone simply asks, “so, tell me about your trip…” Deborah was very specific and I was quite thankful! Because usually, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel overwhelmed with the images, the sounds, the up-and-down emotions, the smells, the injustice of a people, and it’s so difficult to convey. If I could just hand them over my journal entries for every day of those 12 days, then they would begin getting an idea, than what my random ramblings nowadays attempt to communicate.

15 november, 2008, ****** camps, ******

Yesterday we went to the dunes and it was so peaceful. I listened to Nina Landis’ song, God of the Heavens, over and over watching the amazing sky. She sings about listening to God, rising up, and taking action against injustice. The sand was cool and soft, so cool that I lay on it and stared up at the sky, with my Ipod on repeat. Tiffany came over and sat next to me. She wrote a letter to her daughter and thot of me. She read it out loud and made me cry. I saw a butterfly on the sand. Took a picture of it. Some people played baseball with the ******. The drivers drove insanely fast and raced each other thru the sand and rocks on the non-existent road. I held on to the backseat of the Toyota Landcruiser fiercely. Mike asked, “is this your first desert ride?” I must have looked scared.

This morning I woke up and saw a different sky above me. It was the night sky. I saw a couple of shooting starts in the dark, blue sky. It was already full of the brightest starts ever. The moon was full and super white and bright. No need for a flashlight to walk to the squatty-potty. I’ve never slept under the desert sky.


I’m sitting next to ****** who is wearing a maroon red mulfa. Captivating eyes. Gentle hands. Happy smile. Writing a letter to an American friend for someone to take back. She’s got the Kingdom in her eyes. She wants to tell others about her religion and that’s why she’s learning other languages. The misunderstandings make her sad, she says. She knows God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness is here everyday available to all. Creation tells of His glory. Amazing what I’m hearing. She’s 19 and wants to marry a man who shares her dreams: to adopt orphans. She seems like a normal girl to me.

We’re getting ready to leave tonight. I’m mostly packed, ready to go home… and not. ****** has a sad looking face. Her wrinkles around her mouth aren’t showing because she’s not laughing. She LOVED the raw honey and home-made peach jam I brought her from home. I’m going to miss her waltzing in my room a hundred times each day and asking, “Labes??!!” (how are you in ****** arabic)

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