Monday, January 11, 2010

Tragedy for Togo

Today, Les Eperviers du Togo (The Togo Sparrow Hawks) were supposed to be playing the Ghana Black Stars in Group B of the African Cup of Nations, the continent wide soccer tournament that is second in importance only to the FIFA World Cup. Instead, the Togolese national team is back in Togo, healing from a tragic event in which three people were killed after Angolan rebel forces opened machine gun fire on their team buses.

As I was on my way to work today, I noticed that one of the homes of a very important person in this particular village had it's flag at half staff. I was caught off guard by how touched I was by this gesture. Emotions welled up inside of me, and I wept.

As I reflected on the whole situation this afternoon, I realized that there was only one other time in my life when I had shed tears for a country. It was a little after 9am on September 11th, 2001. One plane had already hit the World Trade Center, and I watched live as the second plane smashed into the south tower. Immediately, I fell on my knees and pleaded with God to have mercy on our country. I never could have imagined the horror that I felt in that moment.

Today, my 2nd country is dealing with similar emotions amidst tragedy. America will always be my first country; you can see in the picture below that my purse has an American flag on top and a Togolese flag down below. However, over the last 7 years, Togo has taken a huge chunk of my heart. When the Togolese people are full of joy, our family is full of joy. When the Togolese people celebrate, our family celebrates. When the Togolese people mourn, we mourn right along with them and do whatever we can to share their burden. This was very poignant to me as I watched a family mourn the death of a young child this afternoon while I was out in the village. And so tonight my head is slightly bowed. My demeanor is a little subdued, and I am sad. My 2nd country has been robbed of 3 young lives. It's no September 11th, I know, but in a country where very few things go right, the things that go horribly wrong are magnified. They have also been robbed of the joy of competing in the African Cup of Nations. We have presidential elections coming up at the end of February, and the whole country is already slightly on edge.

Please pray for Togo. It is in need of the strength that comes with the prayers of the saints. So often the Togolese are forgotten or left behind, and all of us here are in need of the hope found only in God.

1 comment:

Miss G said...

What a tragedy. This saddens me very much and I've never even been to Togo. Kelly